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A Comparison of Pickleball and Walking: A Pilot Study: 356 Board #193 June 1, 11: 00 AM - 12: 30 PM

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... The rules are simple, and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players USA Pickleball Association (2020). Pickleball, a trending lifetime sport, was chosen because it provides a platform for meeting physical activity guidelines (Smith et al., 2016), creates new social connections (Chen, 2017), and provides unique hedonic experiences connected to psychosocial well-being (Heo et al., 2018). Pickleball is pertinent to research on aging because 40% of all frequent players are over 65 years of age (USA Pickleball Association, 2020). ...
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This study examined how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the physical activity, social connections, and psychological well-being of seniors who participate in the sport of pickleball. A total of 36 pickleball players who were over the age of 65 completed an online survey that assessed pickleball participation, social connections, physical/mental health, loneliness, and life satisfaction measures in February/March 2020 (pre-COVID) and again in November 2020 (during COVID). Findings indicated that a majority of the participants are still playing pickleball outdoors, but less frequently. They reported lower social connections through pickleball and in their daily life. While perceived physical health scores were stable, participants reported significantly lower mental health, higher loneliness, and lower life satisfaction during the pandemic. Those playing less pickleball were significantly more likely to report lower life satisfaction during the pandemic. The findings from this study have implications for both leisure practitioners and public health professionals as they strategize ways to continue to offer recreation experiences safely.
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