Pickleball is a sport that is taking the world by storm. It is especially popular among senior citizens because many of the “Silver Sneakers” programs are located at gyms that offer pickleball.
I’m an avid tennis player. My mother and father-in-law were in town last week and we went to the gym to work out. The gym was reserved for pickleball from noon to 3 p.m.
We decided to give it a try and my mother-in-law took it up immediately and begin hitting the ball with vigor. She and my father-in-law are both in their mid- 70’s.
I was pleased to see how much fun they had and that they were able to enjoy some physical activity. Staying active is the spice of life. Unfortunately, injuries can add up and take some of us away from doing the sports that we love.
I played in the TreDay tennis tournament in Little Rock, Arkansas this last weekend. It was 3 hot days of grueling tennis on hot courts in the bright sun. It was a lot of fun but very challenging physically.
To sum it up, after the match I got really bad cramps in different muscle groups throughout my body. Even though I had drank almost a gallon of water in my last match, I didn’t get enough electrolytes and my body screamed out with severe muscle cramps as a result.
Another problem I noticed was that after 3 days of sprinting side to side and back and forth, my knees began to get sore. I used to be a competitive mountain biker and raced for years. My knees would get sore back then but I was logging hundreds of miles a week.
I haven’t had knee pain or soreness in years but after the tennis tournament this weekend, both of my knees hurt and are sore. Thankfully, I have my Liteforce Expert Deep Tissue lasers and I just treated both of my knees and they feel much better.
I began thinking about things and what years of playing tennis will do to my body both good and bad. I still enjoy the fact that I can get out there with the 20 year olds and give them a run for their money. I’ve been thinking about the fact that I’m 47 years old. How will my body hold up for the long haul?
Those are questions that will have to be answered in years to come. Since I work with so many patients who have had failed neck and back surgery I know that surgery for my neck, back, hips, or knees will never be an option that I would consider.
I play a lot of sports and am hard on my body. I used to race motorcycles, mountainbikes, boxed, and now I play tennis 3 to 5 times a week.
Most people who have disc related pain in their neck or back will have increased pain with prolonged standing or walking on hard surfaces. Tennis is played mostly on concrete or asphalt surfaces, so it can really do a number on your spine.
I’m a big believer in the principle that if you don’t use it, you will lose it so I’m going to play tennis until my body won’t allow me to do so any longer.
So what happens if my back and knees don’t hold up to the rigors of tennis? What’s the next sport that I will take up? I believe that pickleball is a great option for all athletes or people in general who can’t perform other forms of exercise.
Pickleball is a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping pong wrapped all into one. It is played with oversized paddles that are hard like ping pong paddles. The ball is like a whiffle ball. It is hard and has holes in it so it doesn’t fly a country mile when you hit it.
Pickleball courts are small so there isn’t a lot of running involved. Usually a step or two will take you to where you need to hit the ball especially if you are playing doubles.
Many tennis courts are marked off for pickleball and the number is growing across the country almost daily. Also, many racquetball courts and basketball courts have lines for pickleball.
The benefits to playing in a gym or racquetball court are that the floor isn’t hard. It’s usually made of wood or a composite material that isn’t hard on your joints like concrete or asphalt.
There is still some movement with pickleball and lots of laughter and smiles. So, it’s good for the body, mind and spirit as well as helping get in some physical activity.
Most people who become my patients have debilitating low back pain, sciatica, neck pain, and neuropathy. There is no way that they could get onto a tennis court or much less a pickleball court.
However, getting someone back to where they can live a happy, healthy and productive life is what I’m all about. That’s where I live. I want to improve every single one of my patient’s lives so that they can get back to doing what they enjoy.
I began this article talking about my mother and father-in-law. My wife and I have been married for 27 years. My father-in-law has had so many traumatic injuries to his body that it’s a wonder that he is still able to do anything.
They stepped onto the pickleball court not expecting much and had a great time. We were all happy and looking forward to the next time that we can play together. Isn’t that what life is about? Having quality time with those that you love?
I’m going to keep playing tennis. That’s my plan. But, I’m also going to incorporate pickleball into my exercise regimen. Pickleball is growing in popularity and is fun for people of all ages.
Maybe someday, my back and knees won’t allow me to play tennis. At least there is a great alternative that is a lot of fun.
Staying active, no matter how you have to do it is the spice of life. So what are you waiting for? It has been proven that bed rest and inactivity can make a low back hurt more over time.
Get out there and get active and work your muscles, brain, eyes, lungs, and heart.
Health is Happiness,
Dr. Keith Currie