Why is Pickleball so Popular Among Seniors?

09/27/2023 | 4 min. read

Written by:

If you are one of those people who mainly “participates” in sports by watching them on TV, you may get the mistaken idea that sports are for super-fit ultra-athletic young people. The pickleball craze sweeping the nation now is a testament to the fact that there is a sport for everyone. It’s an easy-to-learn game that gives players a good workout without being overly difficult to learn. Games are typically played as singles with two players or doubles with four. Even newbies can learn to play reasonably well in a few sessions.

It's Easy to Get Started with Pickleball

Pickleball, especially appealing to older adults, boasts a remarkably low barrier to entry. One of its most attractive features is the minimal cost required to start playing. All you need is a paddle, a ball, and a comfortable pair of sneakers. Unlike many other sports, pickleball typically involves no fees to join a game, and finding local groups or communities to drop in and play with is often as easy as a quick online search. This affordability and accessibility make it an ideal choice for individuals looking to stay active without breaking the bank.

The best part about pickleball is that it’s an inclusive sport. It welcomes a diverse range of players, from older adults to sedentary people, making it one of the very few sports where age and athleticism truly don’t matter—at all! Experienced players and newcomers can enjoy the game together, and older players can compete alongside younger ones, all without any age-related barriers. A 70-year-old player with a few extra pounds and new to the game will enjoy as warm a welcome as a 30-year-old physically fit player. The sport's core rules ensure accessibility for older players, although some adjustments can be made for those seeking a more challenging game. Ultimately, pickleball's open and accepting culture makes it a game that everyone can enjoy.

How to Get Started with Pickleball

Starting an exercise regimen can be awkward and embarrassing, but pickleball has a welcoming spirit. Most pickleball communities are happy to help show newbies the ropes and make introductions. The embarrassment that one might feel in a gym or with other sports because a person is too old or out of shape simply are brushed aside in pickleball. Learn the rules, practice how to hold the paddle, and everyone plays. The stigma that older people sometimes feel trying to exercise or play sports transitions to an enthusiasm to learn new things.

The social interaction that comes with pickleball is another big plus. Not only is it easy to meet new friends by playing pickleball regularly, it is one of the few areas of modern life where older and younger, fit and flabby, athletes and couch potatoes can meet and interact. The isolation many older people feel and their relegation to “seniors” activities can be depressing—but pickleball lets them mingle with others of all ages, groups, and interests.

Pickleball is a Great Workout

Lastly, older adults like pickleball because it strikes the perfect balance when it comes to providing a workout. It offers a level of challenge that keeps players engaged and active without being overly strenuous. While older individuals are often encouraged to engage in activities like bingo or dominoes, which primarily provide a mental workout, pickleball strikes a unique balance. It offers both mental stimulation and a moderate physical workout, making it a well-rounded choice for those seeking more than just a sedentary pastime.

How to Avoid Pickleball Injuries

The only real downside—as there is with any sport—is risk of injury, and for older adults, that risk can be heightened. Although pickleball is easy to learn, there are some important techniques that new players must grasp to play well and avoid common pickleball injuries. Before each game, it’s important to stretch for a few minutes and learn proper techniques. In fact, a lot of injuries trace back to errors in how the paddle was held. Another way to prevent pickleball injuries is to take some time to cool down, and even ice their legs or wrists after a game to help tame potential inflammatory pain and soothe muscles since pickleball can be hard on your joints.

Following each game, applications of a topical pain reliever such as Instaflex Extra Strength Pain Relief Cream on overused muscles of the calves, thighs, and arms can be helpful. Not only does Instaflex soothe sore muscles and joints, but it also provides fast relief and absorbs rapidly through your skin for your toughest aches and pains, even arthritis! Mild pain and stress on muscles can benefit from topical pain relievers between games as well.

In Summary

Pickleball offers the perfect balance between physical activity and social interaction which is why so many adults are being drawn to it. While it allows players to work up a sweat and burn calories, it's not an extreme sport that requires costly lessons, expensive equipment, or extensive training. It doesn’t push you to the point of exhaustion unless you choose to take it to that level. It’s the ideal sport for those seeking fun, inclusivity, social interaction, and a satisfying workout. Just make sure you are doing it safely to avoid common pickleball injuries.

Dr. Joseph Pergolizzi

Meet Dr. Joseph Pergolizzi

Dr. Joseph Pergolizzi is an internationally recognized expert in pain medicine who has spent much of his career studying what pain is, why it occurs, and how best to treat it. That experience has led him to believe strongly that there are often ways to relieve or manage pain which are overlooked or discounted, and that the most effective treatment approaches are always multi-modal.

More About Dr. Joseph Pergolizzi