The Truth About How Many Calories Burned Playing Pickleball

If you are wondering how many calories burned playing pickleball, you are not alone! As the paddle-based sport continues to grow rapidly, many folks are left wondering if they are sacrificing a workout for a good time.

With so many factors dictating calorie burn, it’s impossible to answer the query in a specific way. However, there are a few generalizations regarding pickleball and calorie burn.

A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism investigated how many calories are burned during a game of pickleball.

For the study, researchers had 10 male and 10 female recreational pickleball players wear heart rate monitors and sensors while playing. The results showed that men burned an average of 477 calories during a one-hour game of pickleball, while women burned an average of 348 calories.

calories burned playing pickleball

This means that, on average, men burned about eight calories per minute while playing pickleball, while women burned about six calories per minute.

According to USA Pickleball, the national governing body for the sport of pickleball, a 150-pound individual can burn 250 calories during 30 minutes of casual play; 335 calories if you weigh 200 pounds. Aggressive pickleball play can lead to 360 calories in 30 minutes if you weigh 150 pounds; 475 calories if you weigh 200 pounds.

While far from a fitness nut, I am a bit of a data geek regarding tracking the data that matters. I tend to follow my heart rate and rarely pay attention to how many calories I am burning when I play pickleball or any sport. However, here is a look at my personal calorie urn when playing pickleball.

During two hours of play during my weekly league, in a series of competitive mixed doubles (and by competitive, I mean that the games were close), I burned 1090 calories during 1 hour and 50 minutes of play w/ an average heart rate of 135. During 2 hours of play the previous week, I burned 1118 calories w/ an average heart rate of 133. And when I went back to my first pickleball lesson in March, I burned fewer calories, but my max heart rate was higher. I was nervous stepping onto the court for the first time.

I’ve worn a Whoop band for around two years, and it is my fitness tracker of choice. While the data on any device can be questioned, there is no doubt that consistent wear allows you to understand your benchmarks.

My pickleball calorie burn rate made me interested in how many calories I burn when I play tennis. So I went back to last summer, the last time I picked up a racket, and found a 2-hour tennis session where I burned 1314 calories. A better workout than pickleball? Sure. But it comes at a price, as I’m sure my level of soreness was higher the following day.

calories burned playing pickleball

The takeaway? Playing pickleball can burn many calories, but the number will vary depending on your play. So if you are looking to use pickleball as a workout, mix in some cardio by chasing down those errant shots!

Additional ways you can sneak in extra calorie burn when playing pickleball.
-Walking/jogging to and from the court
-Playing singles instead of doubles
-Moving quickly between points
-Serving aggressively
-Chasing down every shot

Following some or all of these tips can turn a fun game of pickleball into a calorie-burning workout! A few tips for burning additional calories throughout your day.

1. Get a standing desk

One of the best ways to burn additional calories is to get a standing desk. Standing desks have been shown to help people burn more calories than sitting desks. One study found that people who used standing desks burned an average of 54 more calories per hour than those who used sitting desks. Additionally, standing desks have been linked to a variety of other health benefits, including reduced risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease. As someone who uses a standing desk when writing articles on pickleball, you also want to make sure you don’t stand too much; you’ll burn more calories but also put undue stress on your back and joints. Moderation!

2. Take a brisk walk

Taking a brisk walk is another great way to burn additional calories. Walking at a moderate pace can help you burn up to 150 calories per half hour. If you walk for 30 minutes each day, you could burn an extra 4,500 calories each week. Walking is also a great way to improve your overall health and fitness. I highly recommend walking before and after pickleball games to warm up, activate your muscles, and then eventually, cool down. 

3. Do household chores

Doing household chores is another great way to burn additional calories. Vacuuming, mopping, and doing laundry can all help you burn more calories than if you were just sitting or standing around. One study found that people who did household chores for 30 minutes burned an average of 113 more calories than those who didn’t do any chores.

4. Park further away from your pickleball destination

Parking further away from your destination is another great way to burn additional calories. This is especially helpful if you work in an office building or drive to your pickleball destination. By parking further away, you’ll have to walk further, which will help you burn more calories.

We have often talked about the importance of playing at the non-volley zone in order to win points. However, if your primary goal is to maximize the calories burned playing pickleball, hanging back by the baseline and chasing balls will certainly get your heart pumping!

How does the intensity of play and skill level affect calorie burn in pickleball?

The intensity of play and skill level in pickleball directly impact the calories burned during a game. More intense play and higher skill levels typically involve faster movements, longer rallies, and more vigorous activity, all of which increase energy expenditure.

Are there any differences in calorie burn when playing indoors versus outdoors?

Playing indoors versus outdoors could influence calorie burn in pickleball due to environmental factors like temperature and wind resistance, which might affect the game’s pace and intensity.

How do breaks and downtime during a game affect overall calorie burn?

Breaks and downtime during a game can decrease overall calorie burn by reducing the time spent in active play, leading to lower energy expenditure compared to continuous activity.

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