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A Comparison of Pickleball and Walking: A Pilot Study356 Board #193 June 1, 1100 AM - 1230 PM

Smith, Molly; Denning, Matt; Zagrodnik, James; Ruden, Tim

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2016 - Volume 48 - Issue 5S - p 93–94
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000485287.22769.50
A-46 Free Communication/Poster - Fitness Assessment Wednesday, June 1, 2016, 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM Room: Exhibit Hall A/B

Weber State University, Ogden, UT.


(No relationships reported)

Pickleball is one of the rising trends in recreation sports for all ages yet only one study in cardiac patients has reported its cardiorespiratory demands.

PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to compare cardiac activity, movement, energy expenditure, perceived exertion, and level of enjoyment during pickleball and walking in healthy adults.

METHODS: Twelve novice to intermediate level pickleball players (4 male: 8 female, age: 48.5 ± 13.1 years, height: 170.8 ± 9.8 cm, mass: 72.9 ± 12.0 kg) participated in this comparative study. Average heart rate, peak heart rate, total steps, and total calories expended during 30-minutes of pickleball doubles and 30-minutes of walking at a self-selected pace were measured using the Hexoskin™ wearable vest. Overall level of perceived exertion (RPE: 6 - 20 category scale) and overall enjoyment (1 low to 5 high Likert scale) were determined for each activity. Subjects participated in both activities in a counter-balanced order with five minutes sitting between activities. Differences between the activities were examined with the use of paired sample t-tests (α = 0.05).

RESULTS: Average heart rate (HR) and peak heart rate (PHR) were significantly higher playing pickleball (pk) than walking (w) (pkHR 117.3 ±15.5, wHR 102.6 ±16.5, pkPHR 140.5 ±18.5, wPHR 119.8 ±23.3; p < 0.001). While significantly more steps were taken while walking than playing pickleball (wSteps 3,175 ±582, pkSteps 1,658 ±148; p <.001), significantly more calories (Cal) were expended in pickleball than in walking (pkCal 229.2 ±61.6, wCal 161.4 ±50.2; p <.001). Participants rated their level of exertion higher in pickleball than walking (pkRPE 11.0, wRPE 8.9) and their level of enjoyment higher in pickleball than walking (pkEnjoy 4.7, wEnjoy 2.7).

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides critical information on the physiological demands associated with playing pickleball, heretofore, unreported. Pickleball is higher in intensity, expends more calories, and is more enjoyable than walking at a self-selected speed.

© 2016 American College of Sports Medicine