Pickleball may not be the world’s most popular sport (it is barely played outside the US), but a good game of pickleball is astonishingly good for exercising. The game is easy to jump into, and even a moderate rally or two will help you to burn calories rather quickly. But, how many calories to play pickleball?
There are a few things that need to be considered when it comes to how many calories you will be shedding when you play pickleball. However, suffice to say, if you play pickleball for a short while, you could easily be burning a few hundred calories. This makes playing pickleball one of the best exercises out there. Let’s explain.
How Many Calories To Play Pickleball?
Several factors will influence how many calories are burned in a game of pickleball. However, on average, you can expect to be burning between 7 calories and 11 calories per minute of the game played. This means that a pickleball game of an hour (the average length of a game) can burn between 420 calories and 660 calories.
What Can Influence The Number Of Calories Burned In a Game Of Pickleball
It is difficult to give an exact figure for how many calories to play pickleball because there are several different things that need to be considered.
Males tend to burn more calories playing pickleball than females. This is because males tend to have more muscle, which requires more calories to ‘operate’.
Younger people tend to burn more calories than older people when playing pickleball. This is for the same reasons as before. Older people tend to lose some of their muscle mass and tend to have much more body fat, which drastically reduces the number of calories burned.
You should also bear in mind that older people tend to be less active on the pickleball court, which is also going to burn off far fewer calories. We will discuss that more in a short while.
Taller people burn more calories than shorter people.
This is where things can get a little bit confusing.
Generally speaking, heavier people will tend to burn off more calories than slimmer people. Calorie burn always tends to be much higher if you are overweight. However, the intensity of play may not be as heavy. This means that those who are out of shape may find that they can play for much smaller periods, which means that they are not burning off as many calories.
Still, if you are on the heavier side (whether it is in terms of body fat or muscle mass), it is still worth playing pickleball for as long as you can muster. You are going to be burning calories. It may not be as many as if you were able to exercise for more than an hour, but you will be burning calories.
5. Intensity Of Play
The more intense the game of pickleball, the more calories that you will burn.
If you find that you are darting from one side of the court to another, then you will burn more calories. If you find that you are constantly needing to angle yourself to get an awesome shot off, then you will burn more calories.
If neither player playing pickleball is all that great, and you stay firmly rooted to the same spot, then you will probably not be burning anywhere near as many calories as you should be burning.
If you are playing pickleball, then we highly recommend that you focus on moving about as much as possible. You don’t have to be playing pickleball well. You just need to be playing in such a way that you are burning off calories. Plus, playing pickleball is all about moving about anyway. If you are not keeping yourself rooted to one spot, then you will find that you lose weight very quickly.
Average Number Of Calories Burned In An Average Game of Pickleball
In the average game of pickleball, you can expect to burn off around 7 calories per minute of play. Since a proper game of pickleball lasts about an hour, this means that you can expect to lose 420 calories.
When we say ‘average game’, we are talking about a low-intensity workout. It is the type of game where you are not going to find yourself firmly rooted to one spot on the pickleball court, and you are going to be doing a bit of moving about, but not huge amounts. This means that you will be spending a good chunk of time just casually moving from side to side.
An average game may also be a doubles game too. After all, when you play pickleball in doubles, you will be moving around a lot less as you have your partner to pick up the slack for you.
We can assure you that as long as you up your heart rate when you are playing pickleball, you will start to burn calories. This is the same for any cardiovascular exercise. The whole point of these exercises is to bump up your heart rate so it is getting oxygen to wherever your body needs it.
Average Number Of Calories Burned In a High-Intensity Game Of Pickleball
A high-intensity game of pickleball can burn around 660 calories over the course of an hour. However, you may burn even more than this, depending on your weight, weight, and how intense you are playing.
A high-intensity game of pickleball doesn’t need to be a competition standard of pickleball. It just means that you are moving around the court quite a bit. It means that you are having to reach out to make those shots. It means that you have very little downtime when you are playing.
Even if you are fairly new to the game, we reckon that you will be able to get to a high-intensity level of game pretty quickly. Just make sure that you move around quite a bit, and always go for those shots. If you do have breaks while you are playing the game, you want to keep the breaks as short as possible. Ideally, never more than 5-minutes. This is because you want to keep your heart rate nice and high!
It is not uncommon for top players to be burning 800-1000 calories when playing pickleball, although you would have to be pretty active on the court to get anywhere near that.
Increasing Calories Burned In a Game Of Pickleball
There are several things that you can do to boost the number of calories that you are burning off when you play pickleball.
- Play For At Least An Hour At a Time
If you really want to up the number of calories that you are burning when you are playing pickleball, then you need to ensure that you play for at least an hour at a time.
Your body isn’t going to be burning too many calories in the first few minutes of play. You need to start warming yourself up. You need to up your heart rate. Most people find that they won’t really see themselves hit that calorie-burning stride until the 30-minute mark.
We recommend that you play for at least an hour at a time. Of course, if you can play for longer, then that is even better. It means that you will be burning off more calories.
- Choose a Playing Partner With An Equal Skill Level To Yours
Not only is it for more fun to play somebody with an equal skill level to yours, but it also burns off more calories.
When you have a bit of competition, you will move around the court a lot more. You will have more opportunities to hit that ball back, and your competitor will always be pushing you to take your game further.
If you play somebody of a lower skill level, then you may never be able to build up a proper rally.
- Take Fewer Breaks When Playing
You can take breaks when you are playing pickleball. In fact, you should take breaks. However, we recommend that you do not break for more than 5 minutes at a time. During your break, make sure that you hydrate yourself. It will allow you to work out for longer periods of time.
- Move Around The Court
As we mentioned previously, pickleball calorie burning happens when you are moving about. So, force yourself to do that. Don’t stay firmly rooted in one spot, because this will not allow you to burn off many calories at all!
- Don’t Play Doubles
Always play pickleball one-on-one if your goal is to burn off calories. It means that you have to put more work into playing.
Finally, don’t play competitively. Try and push for rallies. Nobody should be trying to score points. Instead, you should be hitting that ball casually around the court. Each player should have to move to return the shot, but they shouldn’t be pushing themselves to the brink. Try to ensure that every single shot that you send toward the other player is a shot that can be returned.
Is Pickleball Good For Losing Weight?
Pickleball is an exercise and, just like all other exercises, it can help you to lose weight when practiced properly.
It doesn’t matter how intense your game is, if you couple playing pickleball with a good diet, then you will be able to lose weight.
This is a cardiovascular exercise, but the way in which you play the game (and the stretches that you make) will also help to boost your strength in certain muscles, which is always a plus. Although, do bear in mind that the boost is going to be nowhere near the same sort of boost that you would get if you were actually working on muscle strengthening exercises.
We do, once again, want to point out that it is vital that you combine playing pickleball with a good diet, though. Playing pickleball is only going to get you so far when it comes to losing weight. After all, if you are playing pickleball, and then going to feast on chocolate muffins and bacon sandwiches, you are going to be pouring more calories into your body than you actually burned off. This means that despite playing pickleball, you won’t lose weight. In fact, you may even end up putting on weight!
In our experience, pickleball actually tends to be much better for losing weight than other cardiovascular exercises. For example, you may be able to burn more calories playing pickleball than you would in the same amount of time running, because your body has a lot more work to do.
So, how many calories to play pickleball? Well, in the average game of pickleball, you can expect to burn off between 450 and 660 calories. You may burn off even more if you are playing a particularly intense game. This means that playing pickleball can be a great way to lose weight. However, you will need to combine your pickleball playing with a good diet if you want to lose serious amounts of weight.
Can You Lose Weight Playing Pickleball?
Yes. Pickleball is a form of exercise. Assuming that you combine playing pickleball with a good diet, then you will lose weight. After all, you are going to be expending energy to play the game.
How Much Exercise Do You Get Playing Pickleball?
For a moderate game of pickleball, you can expect to burn around 11 calories per minute. The average game of pickleball lasts for about an hour, so you could easily burn 600 calories or so.
Is Pickleball Easier On The Body Than Tennis?
Because pickleball has a smaller court and tends to be much less fast-paced than tennis, it does tend to be a little bit easier on the body. However, some of the shots in pickleball can be much harsher on your lower back, and thus pickleball isn’t really recommended for those suffering from lower back pain.
Tom is an accomplished writer, with years of experience producing buyer’s guides and tutorials for athletes online.
And it goes without saying – he’s sports-mad.