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From the Community Press

Pickleball For Seniors: Low Impact, High Fun

As we age, it becomes more and more important every year to stay physically active. It’s a great way to maintain muscle mass, preserve bone density, hone flexibility, and more. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways seniors can stay active while having fun—like pickleball!

Pickleball is a low-impact activity that’s been creating quite a buzz in the fitness world. With nothing more than a paddle, a small ball, and a decently sized area, you can enjoy a few hours outside with a wonderfully entertaining sport.

The Benefits of Physical Exercise for Seniors

Physical exercise should always be prioritized. It’s not always about weight management but rather the benefits it provides to your overall quality of life.

Regular exercise can:

  • Improve joint flexibility and muscle strength
  • Regulate blood pressure
  • Enhance cardiovascular health
  • Reduce the risk of chronic diseases
  • Boost cognitive function and memory
  • Manage stress and anxiety

These benefits become more significant for older adults. Every decade, it’s suspected that adults over the age of 30 lose anywhere between 3% and 8% of their muscle mass. By staying physically active, older adults can negate this risk, allowing them to stay independent and healthy as they age.

How Much Exercise Do Seniors Need?

So, how much exercise do older adults need? Generally, the CDC recommends that adults over the age of 65 get at least:

  • 150 minutes of low-to-moderate impact exercise per week, or
  • 75 minutes of high-impact exercise per week

It’s also recommended to:

  • Perform muscle-strengthening exercises at least 2 times a week
  • Perform balance exercises at least 2 times a week

This works out to about 30 minutes of activity 5 days a week, and it can be as simple as a nice walk or swimming. However, if you’re looking for an activity that gives you all the benefits while giving you a chance to socialize, try pickleball.

Pickleball: What Is It?

Think of pickleball as a mix of several different sports. It incorporates elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, all on a badminton-sized area with a net.

You use paddles and a small plastic ball when playing pickleball. Each team, usually made up of 2 players, stands on opposite sides of the net. The objective is to hit the ball back and forth without missing.

The game starts with a serve—usually an underhand one—and the opposing team has to return the ball before it bounces twice. From there, it’s a battle of who can keep the ball in play longer. You can enjoy this activity inside or outside and take it at your own speed. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy some exercise—and flex your competitive side if you so choose.

Is Pickleball Easy to Play?

Pickleball can be excellent if you’re considering trying a new activity. The entry bar is much lower than most other sports, and all you need is:

  • A pickleball paddle (available in a variety of weights and sizes to accommodate different styles and abilities)
  • A pickleball (similar to a wiffle ball, but specifically designed for the sport)
  • Appropriate clothing and shoes (athletic wear and court shoes)
  • A local pickleball court or space to set up a makeshift court

When it comes to learning, practice makes perfect. For older adults, it’s recommended to take it slow, focus on your technique, and enjoy the learning process.

Remember: it’s a game, and you should be having fun. Don’t push yourself too hard; take your time and enjoy!

Alternatives to Pickleball for Seniors

An older adult couple biking by the park.
While pickleball is popular, it might not be for everybody. Finding an activity you enjoy is essential—don’t push yourself to keep trying it if you don’t have any fun. Plenty of low-impact exercises and activities offer similar benefits, and they might be more to your tastes.

Other low-impact activities include:

  • Swimming
  • Walking and hiking
  • Jogging
  • Golf
  • Swimming
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga
  • Cycling
  • Rowing
  • Pilates

At the end of the day, the activity itself doesn’t matter. As long as you’re doing it safely, all of these can bring you a wealth of benefits—and they can be fun, too!

Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Exercise is crucial to a healthy lifestyle, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. It helps to find a community that supports you in all of your endeavors. Whether you enjoy pickleball, swimming, woodworking, or dancing like nobody’s watching, our community at La Vida Llena has a home for you. Book a tour with us today, and take the first step towards an engaging lifestyle!

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