Pickleball – A Bridge to Wellness

The popularity of pickleball has grown by leaps and bounds, an exciting phenomenon for everyone who plays this sport. Along with the fun of play, there are significant health benefits. One study in the International Journal of Research in Exercise Physiology found that middle-aged and older adults who played one hour of pickleball three days per week for sixweeks improved their blood pressure, cholesterol, and cardiorespiratory fitness levels. Pickleball, too, is a sport that helps people recover from many health conditions and diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. Many of us believe that pickleball, as a lifestyle-changing program, is on the same level as the 10,000-step program because of the consistency with which the average person plays the sport.

As a board member of the American Breast Cancer Foundation and has served as its chair in the past for more than ten years, I have heard many stories and read many feel-good testimonials related to health and fitness. Women survivors are passionate about pickleball because playing it has increased their staying power, eased their stress, and helped with their overall recovery from breast cancer. Most importantly, the sport has given them the energy to feel like themselves again.

Personally, I have come to love pickleball. I am passionate, a person who plays every day. Aside from the feel-good energy I experience, one of the other side effects of the game is the social aspect. I am not alone in my enjoyment of the amazing camaraderie between players. The support that we give to one another is far-reaching. Many of our initial acquaintances have ultimately become people in meaningful circles of friendship.

The topic of health comes up a lot, and the discussions lead to reminders of self-care habits, like an annual mammogram. As friends, we check in with each other.

Today, we can play pickleball because of how well we feel. Regular activity enhances our overall health. Our energy and sense of well-being increase. Around the courts, the sound we hear the most is laughter. The Fun Factor connected with pickleball triples the positive energy needed to carry us through the rest of the day, the week, the month, and the year.

More people are getting on the pickleball bandwagon as it is the fastest-growing sport around. It is heading toward having the deserving title of “The Lifetime Sport” for all ages. As we age, pickleball is the best medicine for good health both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Let’s play!

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