The Calorie-Burning Power of Pickleball

The Calorie-Burning Power of Pickleball

Why is it that when I go to the gym to lift weights and exert myself in crossfit-style workouts, my smart watch only reports about 700-800 calories burned...but when I play pickleball, my post-workout calorie burn totals over 1,400?

Ok...admittedly, I typically play pickleball for longer periods of time. But still. 

Suffice it to say: pickleball is a serious workout, and its calories-burned-to-fun-had ratio is unquestionably high. But how high is it, exactly?

For most players, 30 minutes of pickleball burns about 300 calories.

BUT: while the number of calories burned during pickleball can vary, it's essential to recognize that heart rate is a more accurate measure of exertion than calorie count or step tallies.

Fortunately, pickleball registers as "high intensity" in terms of heart rate, indicating its potential for significant calorie burn.

A heart rate indicative of high-intensity exercise typically translates to burning around 8-10 calories per minute.

Several variables impact the number of calories burned during pickleball:

  • intensity of play
  • duration of the game
  • individual weight
  • fitness level

Regardless, pickleball consistently offers an effective cardiovascular workout. The sport's rapid pace demands constant movement, from sprinting to quick pivots and lunges.

Whether serving, volleying, or scrambling to return a shot, players maintain high levels of activity, resulting in elevated heart rates and calorie burn.

The game's dynamic nature engages muscles throughout the body, contributing to overall energy expenditure.

To optimize calorie burn during pickleball sessions, consider implementing these strategies (and consult your doctor for more tailored advice!):

Maintain Activity: Stay in motion throughout the game, avoiding prolonged periods of inactivity to sustain calorie expenditure.

Push Your Limits: Challenge yourself with faster rallies, strategic shots, and aggressive play to elevate the intensity of your workout.

Interval Training: In recreational settings, incorporate intervals of high-intensity play followed by brief rest periods to boost metabolism and enhance calorie burn.

Consistent Participation: Regular participation in pickleball sessions ensures a consistent calorie-burning routine, whether playing multiple times per week or integrating it into your daily exercise regimen.

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