In addition to eating a healthy diet and managing stress, regular exercise is a fundamental component of an active and engaged older age. Many Baby Boomers have caught the Pickleball bug, competing in tournaments across the United States and Canada. But along with greater participation in the hybrid sport, doctors are seeing a spike in Pickleball injuries in the over-55 age group.
According to a recent New York Post report, overuse injuries like tendonitis, arthritis, sprains, and muscle contusions are rising among older adults who play Pickleball regularly. More fractures of the patella, wrist, or elbow have also risen with the popularity of the game among Boomers, and they often require surgery.
USA Pickleball reports that over the past two years, Pickleball was the fastest growing sport, with participants rising 39.3 percent to 4.8 million players in the U.S. Malls, once primarily shopping destinations, are utilizing large indoor spaces for Pickleball courts to attract visitors. More malls are encouraging entertainment development, combined with food and beverage options, to fill large empty retail spaces.
Pickleball is a blend of tennis and badminton and has been advertised as a less intense alternative to tennis. The game has also become popular for its social aspect – it is often played in doubles, and for its competitive nature. ANot only does Pickleball offer an opportunity for seniors to stay fit and socially engaged, but it also requires strategy, keeping the aging brain sharp.
But with a higher incidence of osteoporosis and osteopenia among older adults, seniors playing the sport need to make sure they are stretching and warming up properly and giving their bodies time to rest and recover following competitions. Cross-training with balance and stability exercises can also reduce the risk for falls on the court leading to injury. Staying well hydrated and icing overworked muscles can also help prevent sports injuries.
Learn more about how a dynamic warm-up can help prevent injuries by following this link to The Pickleball Doctor website, and as always, talk with your doctor first before starting any new sport or exercise program.