Pickleball and Mushrooms


Is exercise more important than a healthy diet? Here is a question that invites a wide range of opinions. The right answer is that both are important!

Eating the right food will help improve your training and fuel your daily activities. It’s vitally important that exercise should be part of your daily routine, regardless of age.

Forget the fitness ads you see on TV. You don’t need to develop toned abs or a chiseled physique to be healthy.

Many experts suggest that 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week is better than High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Regular, moderate workouts are suitable for people of all ages and much safer for those over 45.

Wait! Don’t rush to your nearest gym or start planning for a home gym for regular moderate exercise. All you need is a paddle and ball, and access to your nearest Pickleball court.

pickle ball

Pickleball – the Perfect Blend of Fun and Exercise

If you see a new pickleball court coming up in your neighborhood, join at once. Pickleball is your ticket to good health and a long life.

For the uninitiated, pickleball is a mix of tennis, ping pong, and badminton. It’s played on a court that’s just 25-30% of a regular tennis court. Instead of a tennis ball, a light plastic one with holes called a wiffle ball is used. It’s a miniature version of tennis but double the fun.

Pickleball is the new family and social activity that’s good for the body and mind. While you’ll hardly see individuals in their 60s or 70s on the tennis court, it’s a common sight in pickleball.

It’s amazing to see one or two people in their 80s, spending a few minutes on the court, smashing a couple of balls just to get the blood flowing.

Not just in the US, where the game was invented in the 1960s, there has been an explosion of interest worldwide. One of the main reasons for the game’s popularity and growth is its suitability for people of all age groups.

Pickleball has managed to charm a wide range of demographics. Grandparents in their 70s and their grandchildren in their 20s seem to enjoy the sport together. Billionaires, retired tennis stars, Hollywood celebrities, and even teenage prodigies are regularly seen on the pickleball court.

A Brief History of the Pickleball Game

Most of the outdoor sports we enjoy today were originally invented centuries ago. Pickleball, on the other hand, was invented just half a century ago.

In 1965, Congressman Joel Pritchard, along with his friend Bill Bell, came back home after a round of golf. To entertain his bored children, the two friends decided to play badminton. The lack of proper equipment for playing badminton forced the two friends to improvise with ping pong bats and perforated plastic balls.

The grown-ups and the children found the newly discovered game fun and entertaining. The next weekend, the two friends were joined by Barney McCallum. On that day, the three men created the rules that would govern the new sport called pickleball.

Two years later, the first permanent pickleball court was created at Pritchard’s neighbor’s house. The word of the new game slowly spread, and in 1976, the first pickleball tournament was held in Washington. In 1984, the United States Amateur Pickleball Association published the first pickleball rulebook.

How to Play Pickleball – Learning Pickleball in 10 Easy Steps

Court Setup: Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court that is 44 feet long and 20 feet wide. The net that divides the court into half is 36 inches high at the ends and 34 inches at the center. The court is divided into left and right service courts and a non-volley zone called the Kitchen in front of the net.

Teams: It’s played as singles (with one player on each side) or doubles (with two players on each side).

Starting Serve: The game begins with a serve diagonally across the net. The serving team must keep both feet behind the baseline. In the opposite team, the player receiving the serve must be behind the baseline while their partner can be inside the box but behind the non-volley zone.

Double Bounce Rule: After the serve, each team must allow the ball to bounce once on their side before hitting it. The opposing team must also let it bounce once before returning.

Volleying: Once the ball has bounced, players can either volley (hit the ball without letting it bounce) or play it off the bounce.

Non-Volley Zone: Players can’t volley the ball while standing inside the kitchen, which is a 7-foot area from the net.

Scoring: Players win points only on their serve. The games are usually played to 11 or 21 points. The first side to reach the predetermined score wins.

Server Rotation: In doubles play, both players on the serving team get a chance to serve before the opposing team gets their chance to serve.

Faults: Common faults include not clearing the net, stepping into the non-volley zone to volley, or hitting the ball out of bounds.

Winning the Game: The first team to reach the predetermined win score and lead by at least two points wins the game.

Does Pickleball Offer Adequate Physical Activity?

With communal spaces fast shrinking in cities and cars encroaching upon cycle lanes, there is an urgent need for a sport that everyone can enjoy and benefit from.

Pickleball is becoming insanely popular among all, but does it offer enough exercise for the elderly and the young?

As we discussed previously, experts suggest at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week for adults. Does pickleball provide moderate-intensity exercise for middle-aged and elderly people?

A group of researchers in Canada set out to find the answer to this question. The outcome of the study, reported in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, revealed that spending at least 4.5 hours per week on the pickleball court provided an adequate workout for middle-aged and elderly individuals.1

The researchers measured the steps and heart rate of study participants who played singles and doubles. The singles players covered a little less than 50% of the average steps that joggers or brisk walkers cover in an hour.

However, the heart rate readings indicated that nearly 70% of the time, players received a moderate-intensity workout. For every hour on the court, the players spent 30% of the time in the high-intensity zone, 40% of the time in the moderate pulse intensity zone, and the remaining 30% in the light-intensity activity zone.

Michael Joyner, a Professor at Mayo Clinic, said that heart rate is a more meaningful measure than distance covered.

Pickleball as a regular physical activity might still be too much for people not used to it. Before you get hooked on pickleball, ensure your body and mind are ready for the sport by adding mushrooms to your daily routine.

Why should mushrooms be your nutritional partner to improve your game? We’ll tell you a little further down the page.

Is Pickleball Leading to More Injuries in Middle-aged Adults and Elderly?

Pickleball is great fun and an excellent form of exercise. But don’t forget, the game is highly physical. Players or picklers need to be sufficiently fit and healthy to improve and enjoy the game. Moreover, in the past couple of years, there have been news stories and opinion pieces on the growing number of game-related injuries in pickleball.

It’s quite common to hear complaints of fatigue, dehydration, joint pains, twisted ankles, muscle cramps, strains, sprains, and fractures.

Talking about his love for the sport and his history of injuries on the pickleball court, Toronto Sun sports columnist Steve Simmons says that many people who are new to the game are ‘too tight.’ It is also not a sport you take up and immediately be good at. Even if it’s just for fun, pickleball requires a general overall level of fitness.

To enjoy, avoid injuries, and improve your game, complement on-court training with off-court measures such as a healthy diet and taking the right supplements.

During the pandemic lockdown, people in their 60s and 70s took up the sport to beat boredom. Pickleball was also an attractive and fun low-intensity physical activity to keep the elderly active.

Adults need to continue their love affair with this new sport to lead a long and healthy life.

Our recommendation to combine nutrition and exercise is not restricted to the elderly alone. Regardless of your age, it’s vital to stay physically active to ward off common new-age health problems, especially Metabolic Syndrome.

We believe adding mushrooms to your daily routine will make you match fit and improve your game every passing day.


How Mushrooms Help Your Pickleball Game

Throughout the article, we have been highlighting mushrooms as an unexpected secret weapon that can improve your pickleball game.

Mushrooms are more than just a culinary delicacy. Functional mushrooms are packed with nutrients and compounds that can boost your performance, both physically and mentally, on the pickleball court.

Hydration Enhancement

Pickleball can be surprisingly dehydrating, particularly if you spend an hour or two on the court on a warm summer morning. Hydration is more difficult to manage for picklers above 50. Most mushrooms are made up of 92% water. Edible mushrooms can contribute to your overall fluid intake, helping you stay refreshed during the game.

Additionally, staying out in the sun can be hard on the skin. Many mushrooms, particularly Snow Mushrooms, can retain moisture in the skin and prevent excessive skin damage caused by UV rays.2

Sustained Energy

In Pickleball, a player can win a point only on serve, which means each game may take some time to finish. The game requires sustained energy, and mushrooms can deliver the same, guaranteeing optimal performance on the court.

Cordyceps, for example, is widely known for its ability to boost energy, stamina, endurance, and workout recovery.

Cordyceps can support you on the pickleball court by boosting the production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). It also improves oxygen uptake and optimization during intense physical activity.3,4,5

Functional mushrooms are rich in vitamins, particularly vitamins B6 and B12. These vitamins help in carbohydrate metabolism and energy production.

Improved Blood Circulation

Healthy blood flow is not only good for performance on the court but also for your overall heart health.

Functional mushrooms contain flavonols and ergothioneine known for their potent antioxidant properties. These compounds in mushrooms such as Shiitake, Portobello, Maitake, and Oyster support vasorelaxation, resulting in increased blood flow.

Better blood circulation means the muscles receive adequate oxygen and nutrients needed for optimal performance during pickleball matches.

The active compounds in these mushrooms also inhibit plaque formation and manage hypertension. These mushrooms ensure the heart and arteries are in good shape for you to partake in moderate-intensity activities like pickleball.

Muscle Strength and Endurance

The muscle benefits of mushrooms are often overlooked. A study reported in the Journal of Nutrition found mycoprotein as effective as meat protein in supporting muscle growth and repair.6

Since more and more people are adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet, it’s important to consume mushrooms to maintain healthy muscles. Adding mushrooms to your fitness routine, especially as pre-workout, will help you stay strong and resilient on the court. Healthy muscles also mean a lower risk of muscle sprains and tear injuries.

Enhanced Focus and Concentration

Even while playing with friends, pickleball can be a very competitive game. Mushrooms can provide picklers with the necessary mental clarity, focus, and concentration to outperform competitors.

Scientists believe that mild cognitive decline increases once an individual turns 50. Lion’s Mane and other functional mushrooms contain powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that support cognitive health and enhance cognitive faculties such as focus and clarity on the court.7

The time picklers spend on the court can be very stressful. The stress can be both internal (pressure to perform, decision-making pressure, pressure of winning, etc.) and external (heat, wind, dust, and more).

Mushrooms are excellent adaptogens that help the body resist psychological, physical, and chemical pressures. Mushrooms protect you during times of stress and reduce the negative impact of stress on the body.

Final Thoughts

Since the pandemic, the popularity of the sport has seen a massive jump of 159%. Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the United States.

If you’re hooked on the sport and want to get better at it, then spend at least 4-5 hours per week on the court. Interestingly, pickleball is also the ideal moderate-intensity physical activity that’ll keep you energetic and healthy for a long time.

For the reasons mentioned above, mushrooms can become your ideal nutritional partner to support your efforts on the pickleball court.


  1. Webber SC;Anderson S;Biccum L;Jin S;Khawashki S;Tittlemier BJ; “Physical Activity Intensity of Singles and Doubles Pickleball in Older Adults.” Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36087934/
  2. Ma, Xia, et al. “A Review on the Production, Structure, Bioactivities and Applications of Tremella Polysaccharides.” International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8172338/#bibr2-20587384211000541
  3. YF;, Xu. “Effect of Polysaccharide from Cordyceps Militaris (Ascomycetes) on Physical Fatigue Induced by Forced Swimming.” International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28094746/
  4. Nagata, Akira, et al. “Supplemental Anti-Fatigue Effects of Cordyceps Sinensis (Tochu-Kaso) Extract Powder during Three Stepwise Exercise of Human.” Japanese Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine, The Japanese Society of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine, 27 Sept. 2012, jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jspfsm/55/Supplement/55_S145/_article
  5. Yi, Xiao, et al. “Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial and Assessment of Fermentation Product of Cordyceps Sinensis (CS-4) in Enhancing Aerobic Capacity and Respiratory Function of the Healthy Elderly Volunteers - Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine.” SpringerLink, Chinese Association of Traditional and Western Medicine, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02836405
  6. Alistair J. Monteyne 1, et al. “Vegan and Omnivorous High Protein Diets Support Comparable Daily Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis Rates and Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy in Young Adults.” The Journal of Nutrition, Elsevier, 22 Feb. 2023, sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022316623126800
  7. Feng, Lei, et al. “The Association between Mushroom Consumption and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Community-Based Cross-Sectional Study in Singapore.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, IOS Press, 1 Jan. 2019, https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad180959