Why Pickleball Can Be A Powerful Mood Booster

Why Pickleball Can Be A Powerful Mood Booster

According to MacRae, sports, including pickleball, provide numerous physical and mental health benefits. When you participate in an aerobic activity like pickleball, your body releases endorphins, or hormones that relieve pain, reduce stress, and boost well-being.

Playing pickleball is also a fun and efficient way of meeting the recommended guidance for physical activity (150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week). Physical activity is known to improve quality of life and promote healthy aging, especially in older adults, evidence consistently shows. And, as the Apple report revealed, pickleball games last roughly 90 minutes on average, helping you knock out half the amount of weekly physical activity needed in just one session.

Pickleball also gives people the opportunity to stay connected with friends and family or develop new relationships. When people join leagues, for example, they might form a new sense of community and belonging. Plus, it’s inclusive: You can play with people of all ages, skill levels and backgrounds.

“Humans thrive when we experience connection, and pickleball allows us to bond with one another through an activity that also physically makes us feel good,” said Emily Hemendinger, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

It can also provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment. “Playing a sport, such as pickleball, can give people a goal to work towards, whether it’s winning a game, meeting people, or improving one’s skills,” Hemendinger said. Winning, in particular, can lead to a sense of pride and accomplishment, she added.

Pickleball Keeps Your Brain Sharp, Too

Another theory from MacRae as to why pickleball can be such a mood booster: playing pickleball outdoors may increase exposure to natural daylight. And the more natural light we’re exposed to, the better our sleep quality, activity levels, and overall quality of life are, research suggests.

That’s not all. The game also requires people to pay attention and think quickly and strategically. If you get distracted, for example, you run the risk of getting hit in the face with the ball or letting down your partner.

Physical activities that require strategic thinking promote cognitive functioning, which can help prevent cognitive decline. “Some studies have even found that sports like pickleball and racket sports can improve memory and processing speed,” Hemendinger said.

In short: pickleball not only works out your body, it exercises your mind. Taking care of your brain through thinking and problem-solving activities can help decrease stress and anxiety.

“Any type of mindful movement, especially with others, can improve mood and help your physical and mental health,” Hemendinger said.

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