Pickleball Paddles Up for Mental Health and Memory: A Survey
Boosting Brains and Bonds: Pickleball’s Impact on Seniors
A new survey suggests that pickleball, a rapidly growing paddle sport, could be a game changer for older adults’ mental health and memory.
Carewell, a caregiver support company, surveyed over 1,000 Americans, finding that pickleball:
Reduced stress and anxiety: Nearly 70% of participants aged 55+ reported feeling less stressed and anxious after playing pickleball.
Lifted spirits: 64% called the sport “uplifting,” indicating a positive emotional boost.
Strengthened memory and cognition: One in three participants felt their memory and cognitive function improved with pickleball.
This suggests potential benefits in slowing the decline of dementia, a growing concern for older Americans.
Pickleball: A Gateway to Connection and Community
Beyond individual benefits, pickleball fosters social connection:
Building community: Half of the seniors reported a sense of community while playing pickleball.
Connecting generations: One in 10 younger adults (Gen Z and millennials) said pickleball helped them bond with their older family members.
Strengthening family ties: 31% of family members observed more frequent and enjoyable family gatherings when their loved ones played pickleball.
The Science Behind the Paddle:
Previous research supports the survey’s findings:
Team sports and memory: Regular participation in team sports is linked to the release of hormones known to boost memory function.
Pickleball’s meteoric rise: Invented in 1965, pickleball has skyrocketed in popularity, becoming the fastest-growing sport in the US.
Beyond Pickleball: A Spectrum of Activity and Well-being
The survey also highlighted other activities that benefit seniors:
Yoga: 61% of participants reported improved mood after yoga.
Cycling: 59% experienced a mood boost from cycling.
Shifting trends: Seniors are embracing active lifestyles, with 40% engaging in physical activity two to three times a week.
Pickleball: A Paddle for a Healthier Future
This survey adds to a growing body of research suggesting pickleball’s potential for positive aging:
Reducing the risk of early death: A 2022 study by the National Cancer Institute found that playing racquet sports like pickleball for at least 2.5 hours a day reduced the risk of early death by 16% in adults aged 59-82.
Pickleball appears to be more than just a fun game.
It offers a potential pathway to improved mental health, stronger cognitive function, and deeper social connections for older adults.
So, grab a paddle and get ready to serve up some well-being!