Researchers from the Apple Heart and Movement Study announced that, based on data collected from Apple Watch, “the number of participants playing pickleball in a single month surpassed the number of participants playing tennis for the first time” in July 2023.
In connection with this finding, Apple Heart and Movement Study conducted a large-scale observational analysis to compare the two popular racquet sports—pickleball and tennis. Here are the takeaways from the study, which analyzed over 250,000 pickleball and tennis workouts recorded on Apple Watch:
- “[P]ickleball workouts were slightly longer than tennis workouts on average — 90 minutes versus 81 minutes, respectively — and saw greater variability in time played.”
- “The average peak heart rate was nine beats per minute faster during tennis workouts, which averaged 152 beats per minute, compared to 143 beats per minute in pickleball.”
- Tennis workouts generally had more time spent in higher-intensity heart rate zones, as “tennis workouts had nine percentage points more time in higher-intensity heart rate zones compared to pickleball workouts.”
- “On average, players who logged at least 10 pickleball workouts were older than their counterparts in tennis — 51 versus 45, respectively — and had higher female participation rates.” However, both sports were popular across ages and gender.
- Utah was the most popular state per capita for pickleball. “[J]ust over one in every 16 study participants giving the sport a try at least once.”
- “Tennis workout trends saw seasonal variation, while pickleball workouts saw relatively steady growth.”
- Pickleball and tennis have positive effects on mental wellbeing. This was shown as certain indicators of a “depressed mood were 60.1 percent lower among frequent pickleball players and 51.3 percent lower among tennis players than the general participant pool.”
The data and the science is starting to prove what we all already know—pickleball has incredible physical and mental health benefits.