Pickleball is not only fun but is great exercise too. Like any other sport, care must be taken to avoid overexertion and injury. Below are some of the things you should do to stay healthy and have more fun.
Getting Ready to Play:
Warm-up: The main purpose of a warm-up period is to raise the general body temperature prior to playing. When the body temperature is raised it will increase your ability to perform the stretching exercises. The warmup period should be approximately 5 minutes. Try a fast walk to the pickleball courts, riding a bike, or treadmill. These are just a few examples of a total body warmup.
Stretching: Following the warmup period, begin a stretching program. This will increase your flexibility, which allows for better performance and decreases the possibility of injuries. The muscles/joints that need to be stretched are ankles, Achilles tendon, calf muscle, quadriceps (front of the upper leg), hamstrings (back of the upper leg), groin, low back, shoulder, and arms. Start with the ankle stretch and work up toward the shoulder/neck area. For each muscle group, a place that group “on stretch,” the point a which you feel the stretch, and hold it for 10-15 seconds. Relax and repeat 3-5 times.
Eye Protection: While hollow and lightweight, the ball used in pickleball is a hard polymer and can travel at a very high rate of speed. The use of proper eye protection is highly recommended for all players.
Proper Footwear: Comfortable court shoes are a must; sneakers or running shoes do not supply the right kind of support for the side-to-side action inherent in pickleball.
Cool Down. After playing, you may want to do a little stretching or take a slow walk home. This will help lower your body temperature and bring your heart rate slowly back to normal.
According to the U.S.A. Pickleball Association, there are currently 3.1 million players across the country. That’s a 12 percent increase from the previous year. As more people discover the game and play pickleball for themselves, these 3.1 million players have also been able to improve their health and social lives with every game. You too can discover the many benefits of upping your pickleball game! Keep reading to learn the seven ways pickleball can improve your life.
Playing pickleball can improve your mood and ward off depression. As participants get their hearts pumping with this form of moderate exercise, it can improve blood pressure levels as well. Physical activity can help release feel-good endorphins and take our mind off our worries. Participating in a group sport can also improve social interaction.
Exchanging smiles with a teammate can benefit our moods and mental health. In addition to the social benefits of playing sports, participating in a pickleball game can also make you more confident. As you get in shape, you’ll feel better about your appearance, which can improve your mental health, too!
While there’s no serious running, playing pickleball does provide a little aerobic exercise. As a great alternative to more strenuous physical activities, pickleball is ideal for older age groups that still want to get in a little moderate exercise.
The game combines ping-pong, tennis, and badminton and requires players to move within a small court. This gives participants the opportunity to get on their feet, move around, and burn calories while they’re playing pickleball.
A rousing pickleball game can also improve your balance. Regular activity, including the aerobic exercise pickleball requires, can improve our balance even as we age. As more players perfect their pickleball game, they can build their stamina, footwork, and control as well.
Since a pickleball moves much slower than the speed of a tennis ball, a pickleball game is a lot easier on older bodies. This gives players the opportunity to tone their muscles and improve their agility.
According to NPR, pickleball is also a great sport for participants with previous injuries. Instead of putting your health at risk, you can burn 40 percent more calories than walking without causing yourself further pain.
Pickleball is also a social sport. Whether you play a single or doubles game, learning how to play pickleball can put you on the court with other enthusiastic players. That way, you’re making social connections as you play, which can improve your mental health, too.
Finally, pickleball is a fun leisure activity that can help you break away from your usual routine. Get out there and have a blast. It’s not about winning, but about having fun with the other players around you. Here are five tips to help you win your next pickleball game!
A strain involves a ligament and most commonly occurs on uneven terrain, stepping on a stray ball or another player’s foot. The pain is usually felt on the outside of the ankle and there may or may not be immediate swelling. Swelling is not a sign of severity.
(back of the ankle)
This involves a tendon or muscle group; the most common cause is a stop-and-go action or a sudden change of direction. This injury is very common in people over age 40. There is a sudden snapping feeling or a pain like being hit in the back of the leg. A rupture is obvious. There will be an indentation in the Achilles tendon area. The person cannot walk and needs immediate attention.
Pain occurs on the bottom of the heel with every step. This is considered an overuse injury and usually occurs over a period of time. The best treatment is rest and using a heel cup or donut during play.
A sprain occurs by twisting or rotation of the knee. The most common is a medial collateral sprain and the pain is on the inside of the knee, just to the side of the knee cap.
The most common is a hamstring strain, generally caused by overextending or reaching to return a ball. Again, the most serious will show a sign of an indentation where the tear occurred.
The most common cause is going backward for a ball, falling and landing on an extended arm. Learning to roll out of a fall and not extending your arm to land can help avoid this injury.
This is often caused by overuse, too many overheads, playing too long, etc. It can also occur on a single overhead smash in which the rotator cuff muscles (top of the shoulder) are strained.
Causes pain when the elbow is overused. Repeated motions like swinging a pickleball paddle can continue to put stress on the elbow over time. If you play pickleball with improper form or training, you're at a higher risk of a potential injury, as poor form can lead to small tears in the elbow's tendons. Pickleball elbow can cause soreness near and around the elbow and aching, stiffness and pain that worsens with movement.
There is a misconception that you use heat for strains and ice for sprains. Not True! Use ice for immediate treatment of injuries. Ice, compression, and elevation should be used first for all injuries. Apply ice for a minimum of 15 minutes or until numb. Remove until the feeling is back and then replace the ice. Remember: ice, compression, and elevation for a period of 24-72 hours.
Heat should never be applied immediately to an injury (sprains or strains). It should only be applied after 24-72 hours.
Heat therapy works by improving circulation and blood flow to a particular area due to increased temperature. Increasing the temperature of the afflicted area even slightly can soothe discomfort and increase muscle flexibility. Heat therapy can relax and soothe muscles and heal damaged tissue.
It is always best to seek the advice of a doctor for any injury, especially for fractures, head injuries, eye injuries, 3rd-degree sprains, and strains, etc. Call 911 for any serious injury.
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