Since 2008, the United States Department of Health and Human Services has professed that Americans should engage in 150 minutes of exercise per week. A 2020 study looked at the variety of physical activity in connection with the amount of physical activity (Malone, Susan K. et al., "Habitual Physical Activity Patterns in a Nationally Representative Sample of U.S. Adults", Translational Behavioral Medicine, 2020). This study found that adults who engaged in multiple physical activities (with three being the magic number – three different types of physical activities) were more likely to achieve the HHS’s 150-minutes-of-exercise-per-week goal than those adults that only participated in one physical activity. As a result, to stay fit and active – especially in the current environment of COVID restrictions and quarantines – adults may want to focus less on the number of minutes of exercise and more on the variety of exercise.
Having a variety of different physical activities will likely:
- Keep you motivated to continue to exercise, as the varying activities will keep you engaged and interested;
- Boost your abilities by cross training – for instance, strength training and cardio will likely translate to stronger play on the pickleball court;
- Prevent injuries caused by overuse from doing the same motion or action over and over;
- Benefit different parts of the body, as different physical activities will engage different parts of the body; and
- Help your social skills if you engage in physical activities with different people – notably, pickleball is a social sport where players will use physical skills as well as social skills.
In conclusion, to stay healthy and active, engage in multiple physical activities, which will help you meet the goal of 150 minutes of exercise per week. If you have not tried pickleball, add pickleball to your weekly routine, which is one of the most fun and social physical activities out there! And, if pickleball is already in your weekly routine, be sure to supplement your pickleball play with other physical activities in order to improve your pickleball game and keep you on the pickleball court for years to come!