Playing pickleball can be a great way to spend time with friends and family and get a workout as well. But do you know how many calories are burned playing pickleball? Playing pickleball burns anywhere from eight to 11 calories per minute, depending on a variety of factors. Let’s take a closer look at how many calories you can burn playing pickleball.
How long does a pickleball match last?
The number of calories burned playing pickleball will depend on how many matches you complete, and how long each match is.
Typically, pickleball matches last anywhere from 50 to 60 minutes, depending on how the gameplay goes. Per the USA Pickleball Association rules for a tournament (https://usapickleball.org/tournament-sanctioning/), pickleball games should be played to the best two out of three games. Winners should score at least two points more than their opponent to 11 points total to claim victory.
At the same time, the length of a pickleball match can also depend on the pace of play. For instance, recreational games played for fun could last upwards of an hour if you’re having fun. Maybe you’re not necessarily focused on playing to strict rules, but rather laughing and having a good time. In this case, your match might last longer than the typical pickleball match.
Competitive matches, however, are more strict in their game times. This is due to the more aggressive approach of a competitive game versus a casual game. If you intend to vanquish your opponent, you’re likely more focused on playing the game quickly to win.
How many calories are burned playing pickleball?
Generally speaking, you can burn between eight and 11 calories per minute playing pickleball. The exact number of calories you burn will depend on a couple of different factors. These include weight, intensity, body composition, and the format in which you’re playing.
The more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn as you play. For example, someone who weighs 200 pounds will burn more calories than their 150-pound opponent. This is simply due to the mass that you’re manipulating as you move around the court. Someone weighing 250 pounds would burn more calories than someone who weighs 200 pounds, as well as someone who weighs 150 pounds.
The intensity, as we’ve mentioned, makes a difference as well. The harder you play, the more calories you’ll burn. With that said, not everyone will burn calories at the same rate. It all depends on your body composition.
Finally, the style or format of pickleball you play will dictate how many calories you burn as well. For example, if you play a singles match for 60 minutes, you will burn anywhere from 480 calories to 660 calories in that period.
- 8 calories per minute X 60 minutes = 480 calories burned
- 11 calories per minute X 60 minutes = 660 calories burned
Burning eight calories per minute translates to less movement across the pickleball court, and a lower intensity overall. If you are playing pickleball competitively, you may even go above 11 calories per minute, which puts you at a rate of potentially over 700 calories burned within 60 minutes.
How can I track how many calories I’ve burned playing pickleball?
Most pickleball games involve anywhere from 4,000 steps to upwards of 7,000 steps. Again, it depends on how competitive you play and how intense your gameplay is. Generally speaking, the more experienced you are playing pickleball, the more intense your gameplay will be, especially if you’re competing against an opponent.
The Apple Watch is now compatible with pickleball, so you can choose it as a setting. The MyFitnessPal app also allows you to track your diet and exercise and includes a calculator to help you determine how many calories you burn from playing pickleball.
While Fitbit has yet to add a pickleball option to their program, you can generalize it under the “Sport” category to get at least an estimate of calories burned playing pickleball.
Do you burn more calories in tennis or pickleball?
Most games of tennis take longer than a game of pickleball. The tennis court is also larger than a pickleball court, so depending on how you play either sport, you’re most likely going to burn more calories playing tennis than you would pickleball.
With that said, we can also verify the number of calories burned playing pickleball with estimates of how many calories you can burn playing tennis. For example:
- A tennis player weighing 150 pounds burns 414 in singles matches with mild intensity.
- The same game played by someone who weighs 50 pounds more results in that player burning 524 calories.
As you can see, there is over a 100-calorie difference between these two players based on a difference of 50 pounds. A similar correlation can be seen when these players participate in doubles:
- A player weighing 150 pounds playing in doubles burns around 288 calories per match.
- A player weighing 200 pounds burns about 365 calories in a doubles match.
When playing tennis doubles, each player covers less ground, so you’re not burning as many calories. After all, the calories you burn depend on how much you run/sprint to hit the ball, how often you swing the racket (or paddle in the case of pickleball), how much short-distance footwork you do as the ball moves around the court, and how often you jump/dive to make the trickiest shots.
What other health benefits does playing pickleball provide?
Many of the health benefits of playing pickleball are physical, but some are mental as well. There’s much more to this sport than just calories burned playing pickleball.
For example, playing pickleball can help:
- Lower your blood pressure
- Decrease your cholesterol levels
- Improve your insulin response
- Allow for the production of endorphins to improve your mood
- Improve your hand-eye coordination
- Manage your stress levels
Getting outside and playing pickleball is a great way to not only get exercise but also to be outdoors and with friends and family. Some of the best memories you may have could include pickleball games with the ones you love.
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