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Physical activity is good for you. It helps you keep your body in tip-top shape, maintain heart and lung health, and feel good about life. Sports add extra perks in the form of competition, socialization, and excitement. While you might not intuitively place them under one category, pickleball, ping pong, and tennis bring about the same benefits with differing difficulty levels to suit various player types and styles.
So, even if you’ve never picked up a paddle in your life, it’s never too late to get into the game. Let’s check out the main ways these sports help you stay healthy, happy, and fit.
1. Muscle Toning
While it’s not traditional strength training, all three of these games will leave your muscles sore and athletic. They are all full-body workouts, activating:
- Lower body. Quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes
- Abs and obliques, spine erectors, and lats
- Upper body. Chest, upper back, arms, and shoulders
If you find tennis too challenging, modify the difficulty by giving pickleball a chance instead. Either way, your entire body will be warm in no time.
2. Heart Strengthening
The cardiovascular aspect is crystal clear with tennis – you’re always running around, jumping, stretching, and looking to be as quick as possible. The feature persists in the smaller-scale pickleball and even indoor ping pong games.
A traditional pickleball court amounts to a fourth of a tennis field (visit Pickleballin to learn more about it), but that’s still a lot of ground to cover.
Ping pong also forces you to keep moving throughout the session, especially if you incorporate some fancy footwork in your strategy.
Tennis is more explosive and high-impact, while the other two resemble low-impact cardio workouts. You’re not jumping non-stop, but you keep moving, which is what exercise is all about.
3. Flexibility and Agility
Functional movement in these sports does wonders for your mobility. You must move fast and stretch to the opposite side of the court to catch a flying ball. Doing so elongates the muscles and improves your flexibility, opening the hips and shoulders.
You’ll also see an agility boost, as you have to think on your feet and make split-second decisions to beat your opponent. If you’re a beginner, you might be sluggish at first, but you’ll soon notice your reaction time decreasing.
4. Brain Boost
The agility gains translate to the mind, too, making you a sharper, quicker thinker. Your alertness rises as you play, and the more you practice it on the court, the more able you become to do so in everyday situations.
5. Stress Relief
Activity is a stress buster in itself, but not every workout type offers equivalent relief in that department.
Runners in a good mood find it easy to get in the groove outside or at an elliptical. However, if you’re already anxious, you’ll likely spend your entire session thinking about the next thing on your to-do list.
Sports that challenge your coordination keep you focused on the task at hand. Your brain gets a little vacation, making you feel in control once you come back to the real world.
6. Social Advantages
Whether you’re engaging in singles or doubles, these activities require at least one other person.
You can go at it with a friend and spend another hour stretching and snacking afterward, chatting about best tactics, the last game, or life in general. Alternatively, join a club and play against like-minded individuals.
It’s a low-effort way to make friends and connect with people through a shared passion. Sports like this give you a sense of belonging, which benefits your physical and mental health.
There’s no reason not to give one of these fun sports a shot, whether you’re doing it for physical, mental, or social benefits. They work for all ages, abilities, and experience levels, keeping your body long and strong, your heart happy, and your brain sharp.
This list is no more than the tip of the iceberg. Who knows how many more you’re yet to discover once you’re out on the field.