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Pickleball Weight Loss?

Can playing pickleball help a person lose weight?  Having taught the game, played the game, and organized an annual pickleball tournament, I haven’t seen any visible evidence that playing the sport will help a person lose weight in and by itself. 

                According to the Space Coast Daily, Pickleball 1) improves weight management, 2) improves mental health, 3) helps your cardiovascular health, 4) helps with osteoporosis, 5) improves with flexibility, 6) helps prevent/manage diabetes, 7) is important for people with Dementia/Alzheimer’s, and 8) increases muscle strength.  Interestingly enough, however, there were no associated/documented research/statistics provided to support these stated benefits. 

                Where is the research?  I would challenge the USAPA to get the research done and start documenting it with no-kidding studies and statistical facts to back these types of assertions. 

                According to Pink Pickleball, if you combine pickleball play with strength training, you could see additional benefits such as 1) combating fatigue, 2) get better sleep, 3) observe improved hand/eye coordination, and see an improvement in one’s mood.  But, again, there was no supporting research documented to support these benefits. 

                Dr. Bleich’s (John Hopkins) research stated that a pickleball player will expend 250 – 450 calories every 30 minutes of activity depending on the intensity of play.  Pink Pickleball follows with documenting that a pickleball player will move 4,000 – 5,000 steps in one hour of play. 

                Okay, with all that said, I am set to explore a month of pickleball to see if it will help me lose weight and/or all of the other benefits listed above.  I can’t see losing weight with the game itself because it just isn’t that intense at the level that I play; however, I do look forward to combining it with other activities and nutrition initiatives to see what happens. 

                Come join me and play!  What are your thoughts? 


  • JoAnn Cooper Harris says:

    Sounds good to me!!

  • Judy says:

    I agree that playing pickleball will help to lose weight, but you must also control your diet. I have cut back on carbs and sugar and have lost @ 13#. Hard to keep up though. Congratulations to you Kurt. Keep up the good work!!!

    • coach says:

      Thanks Judy … but, I have only completed 50%+ of my self-challenge. The verdict is still out on whether or not pickleball can help someone lost weight or not — I still would like to see USAPA pay for some research. I do agree with you that what we consume has a lot to do with our weight management. If you look to the beginning of, you will see that the first thing I did was cut out the mindless eating — sustaining that has been harder over the longterm because I like to grab a bag of chips and watch some television … but, it isn’t good for me and once I get going, it is hard for me to stop with every commercial. Anyways, we’ll see how the pickleball playing helps with my journey. I know playing top players like you might have me running all over the place and sweating up a storm!

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