Pickleball’s Rise to Popularity: New Apple Study Shows Health Benefits

A recent study by the Apple Heart and Movement Study delves into the growing popularity of pickleball and its health benefits compared to tennis.

Pickleball Workouts: Longer Duration, Lower Intensity

The study, involving over 250,000 workouts, found pickleball sessions lasted longer than tennis (90 vs. 81 minutes), with more variation in play time. While tennis workouts had a higher average peak heart rate (152 vs. 143), participants in both activities spent a significant amount of time exercising at a moderate intensity.


Both Sports Offer Physical and Mental Wellbeing Benefits

Both pickleball and tennis showed potential for improving overall health. Participants frequently reached a heart rate within 70% of their estimated maximum, a key indicator of a productive workout. Additionally, the study suggests both activities may positively impact mental health. Frequent players of either sport had lower scores on a depression screening tool compared to the general participant pool.

Pickleball Takes the Lead in Popularity

The Apple Watch study observed a significant rise in pickleball’s popularity, surpassing tennis for the first time in July 2023. Interestingly, tennis workouts exhibited seasonal trends, while pickleball saw steady growth. Geographically, Utah emerged as the pickleball capital, with the highest participation rate per capita.


Age and Gender Trends in Participation

The research revealed that both sports were popular across various age groups, but slightly more popular among men than women. Interestingly, pickleball players tended to be older (average 51) than tennis players (average 45) and had a higher female participation rate.

Staying Active with Apple Watch

Apple Watch offers pickleball players various features to enhance their experience. Users can track their sessions using the dedicated Pickleball workout option, monitor heart rate zones for intensity, and review activity data in the Fitness and Health apps. Additional features like Focus modes, Apple Pay, and AirTag can also prove helpful for players on the court.

This study sheds light on the growing appeal of pickleball and its potential to contribute to a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally. With its accessibility and increasing popularity, pickleball stands alongside tennis as a viable option for people seeking an active and enjoyable way to stay healthy.

Learn also about how to measure VO2 Max on your Apple Watch.