If you think you can’t pick up a new sport later in life, then guess again. Millions of people over 50 continue to join the Pickleball craze, the fun mash-up of tennis, ping pong and badminton played on a small court.
Alex Godinez is one of them. The retired FedEx driver was a former lifelong tennis player who was so intense that he’d sometimes go for six sets in a day.
“It finally caught up to me. It was just too hard on my body,” says Alex, 60, who was introduced to Pickle Ball when he became a part-time resident of Palm Springs, California. The desert city is known for its large retirees community and an athletic, outdoorsy lifestyle that includes golf, hiking, and tennis.
“When I moved to Palm Springs, people were talking about pickleball and how much easier it is on your body. It has similar benefits as tennis, like aerobic exercise and balance, and it’s a great way to meet people. I’ll be playing pickleball the rest of my life.”
Estimates are that 3 million people in the US alone play the game, many in the Southwest, Texas and Florida, but throughout the country, as well.
Goofy Name, Good Workout
Pickleball might have a goofy name. But it still gives a great workout. You play it with smaller rackets than tennis, and a plastic whiffle ball. Some people are trying to get it included in the Olympics. It’s becoming more and more visible in retirement communities and assisted living centers.
At the last pre-pandemic National Senior Games, Dick Johnson went from Idaho to New Mexico to be among thousands of older competitors. He found pickleball to be a nice transition after playing tennis for many years, and he now enjoys it with his wife, kids and grandkids.
“I love the personal challenge playing pickleball gives me,” he said. “It keeps me motivated and helps me improve my skills.”
Older people are drawn to it also because it’s more manageable than, say, tennis or other games played on a bigger surface. But it still gives a good workout without a high risk of injury. And it provides a social outlet.
Fitness Keeps You Ready for New Fun
A 2018 study conducted by Western State Colorado University found that active agers playing pickleball three times a week saw improvement in blood pressure and cardiovascular fitness. Pickleball also helps with hand-eye coordination.
Plus, pickleball is easy to learn. And there are plenty of places to play. You can find one by searching on the U.S.A. Pickleball website.
The biggest draw for many older people is this: Pickleball is fun.
Just a fifth of adults get even the minimum amount of physical activity a week. And it’s been proven countless times that people stick with physical activity if it’s enjoyable.
Getting fit with strength, endurance and agility will keep you able to enjoy new activities all throughout your life, whether it’s pickleball or something else. To find out about our classes, take a look at some examples on our Youtube Page.
Why There’s No ‘Low Protein’ Diet
You’ve heard of low-carb diets and low-fat diets. But you’ve probably never heard of anyone telling you to avoid eating protein – especially after age 50 or so, when we need to double our efforts to get enough of it.
You need protein to grow and maintain muscle mass, which we naturally lose as we mature, causing frailty, falls, and more problems. Most of us get protein from meat, eggs and dairy; vegetarians find plenty in beans, nuts, certain vegetables, soy and more.
Consider these key points.
When we exercise, our muscle cells break down and need repair. (This is all a good thing!) That’s why some people like a protein smoothie right after they exercise.
We need protein to produce energy for muscle contractions used in everyday activities of normal life. (Think you’re not using muscle to get off the toilet? Think again.)
And here’s a really hot benefit of protein. It has a high “thermic effect,” meaning the body has to burn additional calories to metabolize it. We burn a quarter of our protein calories just as we process what we’ve eaten.
Eating protein will minimize the spike in blood sugar levels that comes from eating simple carbohydrates.
Try to get about 1 to 1.2 grams for each pound of body weight, and talk to us if you want more information.
Later in life, our eating desires sometimes change and we inadvertently go light on protein.
Healthy Recipe, Meat-Lite Meatloaf
You don’t have to go all-out vegetarian to eat less meat, and this recipe is the perfect example. You only need a half-pound of meat for this updated version of meatloaf, with hearty lentils and savory mushrooms. Try with ground turkey for less fat.
8 ounces (227g) white mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup (114g) onion, finely chopped
2 cups (300g) cooked lentils
8 ounces (227g) 90% lean ground beef
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large egg
1/3 cup (75g) ketchup
1 teaspoon chili powder
Preheat oven to 375°F (190ºC). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place mushrooms in a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook until tender and mushroom liquid evaporates, about 4 minutes.
Place half of the lentils in a food processor and pulse until almost pureed; scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. In a large bowl, combine the pureed lentils, whole lentils and mushroom mixture. Add ground beef, garlic powder, salt, pepper and egg. Mix until well combined. Shape the mixture into a 7-by-4-inch freeform loaf on the prepared sheet pan. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes.
Combine ketchup and chili powder. After 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven. Brush ketchup mixture all over. Bake until a thermometer inserted in center registers 160°F (71ºC), about 10–15 minutes more. Slice loaf into 8 pieces.
Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 2 slices