October 18, 2023
New research from Apple highlights the health benefits of pickleballs
The Apple Heart and Movement Study reveals that tennis and pickleball are a win for overall health, as pickleball continues to grow in popularity
Researchers from the Apple Heart and Movement Study share new insights into one of the fastest growing sports in the world: pickleball. To see how this nascent sport compares to the long-standing game of tennis and how it affects overall health, researchers turned to the data.
In one of the largest datasets of pickleball activity observations collected using the Apple Watch, researchers found trends in pickleball and tennis exercise data that underscore the potential health benefits of both activities.
Participants often played pickleball and tennis for extended periods of time, averaging peak heart rates within 70 percent of their estimated maximum heart rate during the recorded workouts. Pickleball sessions lasted slightly longer than tennis sessions, while tennis sessions spent an average of more time in the heart rate zones and had a higher average peak heart rate.
The researchers also noted a steady increase in the popularity of pickleball workouts, with pickleball workouts surpassing tennis workouts for the first time. Utah ranked first as the state with the most recorded pickleball practices per capita in the study. The survey found that both pickleball and tennis were popular among all adult age groups, and both were more popular with men than women.
Observing the participants’ behavior, along with activity data and sensors from the Apple Watch, helps researchers better understand the factors that affect heart health and mobility over time.
“The Apple Heart and Movement Study offers us an extraordinary opportunity to monitor changes in participants’ behavior and the health consequences of those changes,” said Calum MacRae, MD, Ph.D., cardiologist, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and principal investigator of the Apple Heart and Movement Study. Movement Study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Tracking pileball growth using Apple Watch data allows us to explore new trends and the effects of activity on multiple health and well-being metrics not previously available.”
The Apple Heart and Movement Study is one of three public research studies presented by Apple in the Research app, in collaboration with leading institutions. The Research app gives researchers the ability to expand the scale and scope of their studies, helping to uncover new scientific discoveries and advancing Apple’s ability to create new science-based features in the process.
Paddles and rackets: both offer healthy activity for everyone
After analyzing more than 250,000 pickleball and tennis practices recorded on the Apple Watch by study participants, the researchers found that pickleball practices averaged slightly longer than tennis practices—90 minutes versus 81 minutes—and observed greater variability in playing time. .
To assess the intensity of each type of exercise, the researchers analyzed heart rate data. The average peak heart rate was nine beats per minute faster during tennis training, averaging 152 beats per minute, compared to 143 beats per minute in pickleball.
Heart rate zones are another way to estimate exercise effort. While both sports had similar trends in time spent within each heart rate zone, on average, tennis workouts had nine percentage points more time spent in higher heart rate zones compared to pickleball workouts.
Both pickleball and tennis were often played for long periods of time, and participants had an average peak heart rate within 70 percent of their estimated maximum heart rate during the recorded workouts. Regular physical activity is associated with improved quality of life and healthy aging.
Connection with attention
It was important for the researchers to consider the potential impact of exercise on mental health. The study offers participants an optional mental health survey that includes a depression screening tool called the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2).
Across the study, scores consistent with depressed mood were rare, but the distribution of PHQ-2 scores was lower among frequent pileball and tennis players. The odds of PHQ-2 scores indicating depressed mood were 60.1 percent lower among frequent pickleball players and 51.3 percent lower among tennis players than the general group of participants, reinforcing the potential benefits of physical activity on mental well-being.
“Research is a vital component of our health work at Apple, and it’s important to see the science behind the mental and physical benefits of activities like sawmills and tennis for Apple Watch users,” said Sumbul Desai, MD, Apple’s vice president of health. . “Physical inactivity is a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease and a number of other chronic conditions. Finding an activity that one enjoys participating in can help build a routine, whether that means picking up a paddle or a racket.”
According to the study, in July 2023, the number of participants who played pickleball in one month exceeded the number of participants who played tennis for the first time. Tennis practice trends show seasonal variations, while pickleball practices have seen relatively stable growth.
“We are pleased to see the findings related to pickleballs included in the Apple Heart and Movement Study, in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the American Heart Association. There are numerous benefits for individuals of all ages and backgrounds to play pickleball as part of a healthy, social and active lifestyle,” said Mike Nealy, CEO of USA Pickleball. “As the national governing body of the sport in the United States, it makes more sense to see the science behind pickleball using real-world data from the Apple Watch. The relatively low impact, informal and social nature of pickleball can offer a useful and enjoyable outlet for those looking to increase movement and add to their exercise.”
The survey found that both sports were popular at all ages and were more popular with men than women. On average, players who logged at least 10 pickleball practices were older than their tennis counterparts — 51 versus 45 — and had higher female participation rates.
The Utah Picklers win first place
The center of the sport, Utah stood out in the survey as the most popular state per capita for pickleball, with just over one in every 16 survey participants having tried the sport at least once.
“We are excited to see that in the latest Apple Heart and Movement Study, Utah stood out as the most popular state per capita for pickleball. “It’s great that so many Utahns are seizing the opportunity that pickleball offers to incorporate activity into their days, and this research is a great reminder that any type of exercise is a powerful way to improve our long-term health,” said Spencer J. Cox. , governor of Utah.
About the Apple Heart and Movement study
The Apple Heart and Movement Studyin collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the American Heart Association and Apple, researches the links between physical activity and heart health and has more than 200,000 participants across the United States who have given their consent to share data.
Apple Watch Tips for Pickleball Players
Apple Watch offers users a number of ways to stay connected, active, healthy and safe:
- To follow pickleball sessions on Apple Watch, go to Exercise app and select Add Workout, then select Pickleball. To help track exercise intensity, users can also customize their workout views on Apple Watch to include heart rate zones. Users can view their activity data in the Fitness app on iPhone or health data in the Health app on iPhone or iPad.
- With a new one double tap coming later this month for Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, users can answer and end a phone call or reply to a text with one hand while on the field while holding their paddle with the other.
- To stay in the zone, users can create a custom option Concentration on their iPhone to choose when they want to receive alerts and notifications on their Apple Watch, while letting others know when they’re busy. In Settings, select Focus, tap the Add button, then select Custom to customize the options.
- By placing Apple Pay on the Apple Watch, users can leave their wallets at home and pay directly from their wrists.
- Users can slide an AirTag into your pickle bag and track its location directly on your Apple Watch. Go to the Find Items app and choose whether you want to play a sound or pull instructions to find an item.
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