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Calories Burned in Pickleball: Is It an Accurate Measure of Exertion?

by The Dink Media Team on

Have you ever wondered how many calories are burned playing pickleball? Parade.com recently attempted to answer that question.

We say “attempted” because every individual body burns calories at a different rate. But according to Parade’s source, “most estimates range from 8-10 calories per minute of pickleball played.”

Let’s crunch the numbers: 8-10 calories/minute means 240-300 calories per game (assuming your game lasts about 30 minutes).

That sounds suspiciously low, particularly if you’re the type of player whose mobility allows you to run for those wide bounces and short returns.

More blasphemy regarding pickleball’s efficacy as a workout was recently published by WaPo. Their point surrounded a study which used step count as a means of measuring pickleball's relative strenuousness.

WaPo said the study measured "the physical activity intensity of singles and doubles pickleball" and found that middle-aged and older players would have to play 4.5 hours per week to meet recommended exercise minimums.

Why do media sites keep trying to define pickleball's exertion rate by calories or step counts?

Heart rate is a much more accurate measure of exertion, and it just so happens pickleball qualifies as “high intensity” in that department.

The sport's abrupt starting and stopping causes players' heart rates to fluctuate and places significant amounts of metabolic stress on muscle tissue.

One thing is for sure: keep moving on the court and your overall fitness will surely benefit.

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