Your Game, Their Words: Pickleball Content Written By Pros.

is pickleball good for weight loss

Is Pickleball Good for Weight Loss


Pickleball being the fastest growing sport in America, you’ve probably already played it once or twice, or at the very least heard of it. And you’re probably reading this article because you want to lose weight.

Is pickleball good for weight loss? 

They say pickleball is easy. But it’s actually a lot harder and tiresome than most people give it credit for. Although the court size is smaller than a tennis court, running around and hitting the pickleball back and forth burns quite a lot of calories! In fact, pickleball is considered a good exercise for people of all fitness levels—even for extreme athletes. 


Is Pickleball Good for Weight Loss — Yes, But!

Pickleball is a fun sport that’s just the right amount of challenging. It gets you sweating without being as intense as tennis. However, when it comes to weight loss, being drenched in sweat and worn out isn’t the golden ticket. Why? Because feeling exhausted after a game can make you feel super hungry! In fact, you might end up eating more than you should.

good for weight loss

Now, pickleball is a great middle ground between activities like brisk walking and high-intensity sports like tennis. It’s like a blend of jogging and sprinting. There are times you can take it easy, thanks to the small court. But, there are also a ton of times when you’ll be running left and right during an exciting rally. 

So here’s the thing: While pickleball is a great weight loss tool, there’s still a big BUT. Weight loss boils down to a simple equation – burning more calories than you take in. This means that you should be sweating out and using more energy in your body than the energy you get through eating. Less calories in, more calories out.


How Many Calories Does Pickleball Burn?

Pickleball burns around 300 to 500 calories an hour, based on several studies, figures online, and our in-house professional player’s estimate. 

But keep in mind that everyone is different. The calories you burn will depend on your weight, how intense your game is, how much you sweat, your heart rate, and a bunch of other factors. So, the exact number of calories burned will vary from player to player.


Is Pickleball Counted as Cardio?

Yes, pickleball definitely counts as cardio! Cardio refers to any exercise that gets your heart rate up and improves the function of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. And with all the running around in pickleball, you bet it gets your heart pumping!

But pickleball isn’t just about cardio; it’s an anaerobic exercise, too. This means you get to build functional strength, especially if you’re the type who loves throwing strong, power-packed hits.


How Much Weight Can You Lose Playing Pickleball?

Suppose your weight has been stagnant for a while. If you start playing pickleball for six hours a week and don’t change your eating habits, you could expect to lose about half a pound of weight, mainly fat, each week. Sounds great, right?

However, remember this golden rule: you can’t out-train a bad diet. Yes, sports and working out are fantastic for weight loss, but they tend to make you hungrier. It’s a common trap—you feel like you’ve earned a big meal after a workout, and then you consume more calories than you burned. 

It’s easier to gain calories than it is to lose them. So, pair up your pickleball sessions with a balanced diet for real results.


Can You Play Pickleball if You’re Overweight?

If you’re carrying extra pounds, jumping into pickleball right away might not be a wise decision. This is because the added weight does put you at risk of slips, falls, and even injuries to your tendons or joints. 

can play pickleball if overweight

The thing is, when your body is heavier than what your bones and joints can handle, just moving around the court is a challenge. This problem is particularly common among people who aren’t used to working out and suddenly try to get into a sport to lose weight.

That’s why it’s so important to seek professional guidance before starting a game like pickleball, especially if you’re overweight or have certain health conditions. If professional advice is outside of your budget, a couple of hours of reading reliable articles on the internet should work. Look for potential risks like tennis elbow, back strains, and joint problems of overweight athletes—but don’t let them discourage you. With the right techniques, a proper warm-up, and playing slowly, you can prevent such issues and still enjoy the game.


Health Benefits of Pickleball

Pickleball is not just a game—it offers various health benefits and is a great form of exercise, especially for physically unfit or elderly players. Specifically, pickleball offers the following health benefits:

  1. Flexibility

Being flexible is beneficial to your overall well-being. It can improve your performance in daily activities and reduce your risk of injuries. The movements involved in pickleball, like stretching to hit the ball or lunging for a shot, can help increase your flexibility.

  1. Weight loss

If you’re looking to shed some pounds, pickleball can be a fun and effective way to do it. The game provides a good mix of cardio and strength training, helping you burn calories and lose weight over time.

  1. Functional Fitness

Functional fitness is all about strengthening your muscles to improve your ability to perform everyday activities. The diverse movements in pickleball, from running to hitting, can enhance your functional fitness, making daily tasks easier to perform.

There are more health benefits to playing pickleball that you can check out. 


How to Lose Weight with Pickleball

In this section, we’ll break down how you can use pickleball as a tool to help with weight loss. We’ll go over the basics of shedding pounds, and how you can incorporate this fun sport into your routine.

Pinned Notes Icon

DISCLAIMER: Generally speaking, you should only lose 1 pound a week to lose weight healthily. However, that number will vary, especially if you’re a heavier person. You might lose 1.2 to 2 pounds a week instead. Any more than that and you’re at risk of losing weight too fast, especially losing muscle. This will lower your immune system and you’ll be more prone to getting sick and feeling weak.

Step 1: If Your Weight Is Stagnant, Don’t Eat More than You Normally Do. 

The mantra ‘calories in, calories out’ is a fundamental principle when it comes to weight loss. You can’t outrun or out-play a bad diet. So, if your weight has been steady, aim to not eat more than you’re currently consuming, even as you increase your physical activity with pickleball.

Step 2: Don’t Think of Pickleball as A Weight Loss Tool. Think of It as A Hobby. 

Losing weight is a marathon, not a sprint. If you focus only on the end goal, it will feel like a chore, becoming harder and more unreachable every time you play. Embrace pickleball as a fun activity that you enjoy, not just as a means to an end. This mindset will make your weight-loss journey more enjoyable and sustainable, which can help keep you in the game longer and, over time, help you lose weight.

Step 3: Weigh Yourself Every Day and Average Those Weigh-Ins Throughout the Week. 

Weighing yourself can be both good and bad. If you’re extremely conscious about your weight and get overwhelmed easily, it’s best not to weigh yourself every day. On the other hand, if you’re the anxious type, daily weigh-ins could help ease your anxiety.

Seeing gradual changes on the scale as you stick with your weight-loss regimen of playing pickleball and eating fewer calories than you burn can provide reassurance that you’re on the right track. However, remember that weight fluctuates daily due to various factors, so don’t stress about small ups and downs. You should still average your weigh-ins throughout the week for a more accurate picture of your progress.

In the end, patience and persistence are key. Enjoy your pickleball games, eat healthily, stay active, and trust that the results will come with time.

Pinned Notes Icon

EDITOR’S NOTE:  If this is your first time reading or learning about calories in, calories out, and the concept of losing weight at 1 to 2 pounds per week, I highly recommend that you read more about losing weight, specifically on topics about: basal metabolic rate, how protein makes you feel more full, and protein for building or keeping muscle.

Losing weight is more than just picking up a paddle or any kind of sport and playing for months and months. The last thing I want you to have is body dysmorphia and an eating disorder because you aren’t educated enough on how to lose weight. 


Pro Tip: Investing in a Smartwatch

With the boom in fitness technology, tracking your heart rate and activity levels has become a breeze. Thanks to devices like the Apple Watch, Fitbit, or other exercise watches, you can keep tabs on how your body does during your pickleball sessions.

smart watch

Having a smartwatch becomes particularly useful when you’re on a mission to lose weight. It offers tangible data for every pickleball game you play. These numerical figures help you understand how hard your body works to burn calories and how an hour of pickleball can significantly increase your overall energy expenditure for the day.

Smartwatch Recommendations for Pickleball

If you’re considering investing in a smartwatch, here are some top recommendations:

  • Fitbit

Known for their robust fitness tracking capabilities, Fitbits are user-friendly and offer in-depth physical data like heart rate, calories burned, steps taken, and even sleep quality. The company continuously innovates, offering sleek designs and advanced health monitoring features.

  • Apple Watch

If you’re an iPhone user, the seamless integration of the Apple Watch with your phone is a big plus. Besides tracking your activity levels and heart rate, it also lets you receive calls, texts, and notifications. What sets the Apple Watch apart is its extensive app ecosystem, allowing customization to your lifestyle.

  • Garmin

Favored by serious athletes and fitness enthusiasts, Garmin watches offer advanced tracking metrics and durability. From monitoring your heart rate to analyzing your performance stats, these watches are a reliable companion on the pickleball court. Garmin is known for its innovation in GPS technology, making it a great choice for outdoor activities.

Each of these smartwatches has its pros and cons, and the best one for you will depend on your specific needs, lifestyle, and budget. Before making a purchase, consider what features are most important to you and how a smartwatch can support your pickleball performance and overall fitness goals.