Pickleball has quickly grown in popularity, with more than 4.8 million “picklers” in the United States according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Described as a combination of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton, the sport appeals to athletes of all ages and skill levels. Heather A. Milton, MS, RCEP, CSCS, an exercise physiologist supervisor at NYU Langone’s Sports Performance Center, speaks to The New York Times about how the sport can be a real workout that can be enjoyed by almost anyone.
Having a low barrier to entry, being easier to learn than tennis, and having a smaller court, pickleball is a great option for casual or serious athletes. It’s easy to get a game going, making it a convenient way for Americans to up their activity levels.
“Because the paddle’s so small, pickleball is great for hand–eye coordination as well as neuromuscular coordination,” says Milton. “You’re moving in different planes, not just forward like you do when you’re walking or cycling, which is good for your agility. And because there’s rotation involved, you’re working your core along with your upper and lower extremities.”
One thing players should be careful of, especially those who haven’t played a high-activity sport in a while, is injuries. Warming up your muscles is important to prevent sprains and rotator cuff pain, among other injuries.
To avoid injury, you can ramp up the intensity in a number of ways. “If you are more competitive with pickleball, you absolutely could have a more intense workout,” says Milton.
Read more from The New York Times.