Pickleball is a fun sport for people of all ages and fitness levels. As a paddle sport, it provides a great full-body workout that engages nearly every major muscle group. But exactly how many calories does pickleball burn? The number of calories burned while playing pickleball depends on several factors, including weight, intensity level, and duration of play. By understanding these variables, you can estimate your calorie expenditure accurately. This article provides a detailed breakdown of calories burned while playing pickleball.

What is Pickleball?

For those new to the sport, pickleball is a racket sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It is played on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net. Players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over the net. Games are played singly or doubly, most often to 11 points. Pickleball has exploded in popularity recently, especially among older adults looking for a fun way to stay active. It provides an excellent cardiovascular workout and improves coordination, balance, and reflexes.

How Pickleball Burns Calories

Moderate to vigorous physical activity will cause your body to burn calories. The number of calories burned depends on the duration and intensity of the exercise. Here is an overview of how pickleball leads to calorie expenditure:

  • Moving around the court. You constantly move during pickleball, including side-to-side shuffling, forward and backward running, jumping, and lunging. This dynamic movement burns calories.
  • Swinging the paddle. Repeating swinging motions with your dominant arm engages your shoulder, arm, and core muscles. This muscle activation requires energy expenditure.
  • Sprinting and rapid acceleration. The stop-and-go nature of pickleball leads to bursts of high-intensity movement. Sprinting to the non-volley zone or racing to return a drop shot burns extra calories.
  • Jumping and lunging. Reaching for a shot at the net or moving laterally to return a wide ball causes you to jump and lunge repeatedly. These plyometric moves are highly calorie-burning.
  • Maintaining balance and body control. A good pickleball strategy requires controlled footwork and weight transfers. Keeping your body balanced and in position burns calories through the game.
  • Higher heart rate. The combination of movements and exertions raises your heart rate significantly, indicating more significant calorie burn. This aerobic activity provides cardiovascular benefits.

What Impacts Pickleball Calorie Burn

Several factors affect how many calories you’ll burn to play pickleball:

  • Body weight – Heavier people burn more calories than lighter people when exercising.
  • Fitness level – The fitter you are, the fewer calories you’ll burn because your body is efficient. Beginners burn more calories.
  • Intensity – The harder you play, the more calories you’ll burn. Casual play burns fewer calories than competitive play.
  • Age – Younger people tend to burn more calories than older people during exercise.
  • Gender – Men typically burn more calories than women.
  • Type of play – Singles pickleball burns about 25% more calories than doubles play.
  • Duration – The longer you play pickleball, the more calories you burn.

Calories Burned Per Hour of Pickleball

Most pickleball games last about an hour. Here’s an estimate of the calories burned per hour of play:

  • For a 160 lb person:
  • Casual play: 400 calories
  • Moderate intensity: 500 calories
  • High intensity: 700 calories
  • For a 200 lb person:
  • Simple play: 550 calories
  • Moderate intensity: 700 calories
  • High intensity: 900 calories

These estimates are for single games. Doubles play will burn around 25% fewer calories per hour.

Also, Read this Article about the Singles Pickleball Strategy.

Player Weight
Casual Play (per hour)
Moderate Intensity (per hour)
High Intensity (per hour)
120 lbs
300 calories
400 calories
600 calories
140 lbs
350 calories
450 calories
650 calories
160 lbs
400 calories
500 calories
700 calories
180 lbs
450 calories
550 calories
750 calories
200 lbs
500 calories
600 calories
800 calories
220 lbs
550 calories
650 calories
850 calories
240 lbs
600 calories
700 calories
900 calories

Calories Burned Per Game of Pickleball

A typical pickleball game goes to 11 points and lasts 15-20 minutes for casual play and up to 30 minutes for competitive matches.

Here’s an estimate of calories burned per 15-30 minute pickleball game:

  • For a 160 lb person:
  • Casual play, 15 minutes: 100 calories
  • Competitive play, 30 minutes: 350 calories
  • For a 200 lb person:
  • Simple play, 15 minutes: 140 calories
  • Competitive play, 30 minutes: 450 calories

Again, these figures are based on singles play. Doubles will burn fewer calories.

How Pickleball Compares to Other Sports

So, how does pickleball stack up against other sports for calories burned? Here’s a comparison per hour of play:

  • Pickleball (competitive singles): 700 calories
  • Tennis (competitive singles): 800 calories
  • Badminton (competitive singles): 600 calories
  • Swimming laps: 500 calories
  • Basketball game: 800 calories
  • Soccer game: 700 calories

As you can see, pickleball burns a comparable amount of calories to many other popular sports. The more competitively you play pickleball, the more calories you’ll burn.

Calories Burned Per Match of Pickleball

A pickleball match typically consists of the best 2 out of 3 games. Let’s look at an estimate of calories burned for a full pickleball match:

  • For a 160 lb person:
  • Friendly game: 300 calories
  • Competitive match: 700 calories
  • For a 200 lb person:
  • Friendly game: 400 calories
  • Competitive match: 900 calories

These figures reflect two 30-minute games for a friendly match and three 30-minute games for a competitive match. Doubles matches will burn around 25% fewer calories. As with any exercise, individual mileage will vary based on the factors discussed earlier, such as weight, intensity, and fitness level. But in general, a full pickleball match can burn many calories.

Read this informative post regarding What is a let serve in Pickleball. 2024.

Tips to Maximize Calories Burned Playing Pickleball

Here are some tips to help maximize the calories you can burn playing this fun paddle sport:

  • Play singles instead of doubles to increase movement and hits.
  • Choose competitive play over casual games to increase the intensity.
  • Take minimum rests during play to keep your heart rate up.
  • Don’t just stand at the non-volley line. Keep moving your feet when at the net.
  • Use proper form and stroke mechanics to get the most power.
  • Work on skills and drills to improve so you can play harder.
  • Play longer matches instead of games to 11.
  • Wear a weighted vest to increase calorie burn.
  • Stay hydrated to avoid fatigue, which decreases calorie expenditure.

For any activity you enjoy, you’ll stick with it longer, resulting in more calories burned. So focus on fun and friends while reaping the calorie-burn reward of pickleball!

Pickleball for Weight Loss

With the potential to burn 400-900 calories per hour, pickleball can help you lose weight as part of a comprehensive program. You need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat. If you play competitive pickleball for one hour five days a week, in a month, you could burn over 15,000 calories, equaling more than four pounds of fat. And that’s without any dietary changes. Always consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. But pickleball is an excellent addition to burning calories and losing weight if you’re cleared for activity.

Pickleball for Weight Loss

Other Benefits of Playing Pickleball

Beyond calorie burn and potential weight loss, what other benefits does pickleball offer? Here are some of the top reasons to give this fun sport a try:

  • Improves reflexes, coordination, and mobility
  • Builds muscle strength and endurance
  • Develops balance and agility
  • Boosts cardiovascular health
  • Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
  • It helps control blood sugar
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves mood and combats depression
  • Stimulates brain activity and concentration
  • Preserves joint health with low-impact activity
  • Promotes healthy bones by slowing bone density loss
  • Builds active social connections and friendships
Other Benefits of Playing Pickleball

As you can see, pickleball is about way more than just burning calories! While it’s great exercise, it also provides overall health benefits for the mind and body.

Playing Pickleball to Get Fit

Pickleball is a fun way to burn calories, lose weight, and get fit. Since it’s easy for beginners to learn but can be played competitively, players of all ages and fitness levels can enjoy pickleball. The paddle sport provides health perks beyond weight loss, like improving coordination, flexibility, mood, brain function, and heart health. The social nature and lower cost compared to tennis also add to its popularity. So don’t be surprised as you see more and more pickleball nets going up at community rec centers, schools, churches, and parks. Pickleball deserves its growing fan base!


Pickleball is here to stay as one of the fastest-growing sports due to its accessibility, affordability, and appeal across generations. It also ranks among the top calorie-burning activities. A competitive singles match can burn over 700 calories per hour for the average player. Variables like weight, age, gender, and intensity impact exact calorie expenditure. But pickleball’s bursts of exertion with short rest periods qualify it as high-intensity interval training. This type of exercise skyrockets calorie burn both during and after activity.

Beyond calories, pickleball provides full-body health benefits, from stress relief to strengthened muscles, bones, and brain function. Playing just a few hours weekly can help you lose weight, lower blood pressure, build active social connections, and improve mobility. Burning calories while having fun – it’s a winning combination! So grab a paddle, head to a court, and experience the magic of pickleball. Your waistline and well-being will thank you.


Is pickleball good exercise?

Yes, pickleball provides an excellent cardio and muscle workout. The start-stop nature works the heart and tones the body from head to toe. Both casual and competitive play burn significant calories.

Can you lose weight by playing pickleball?

Definitely! By burning up to 900 calories per hour of competitive play, pickleball is a tremendous calorie-torching exercise. Combined with a healthy diet, it can help you shed pounds.

How long should you play pickleball to lose weight?

Aim for at least 30 minutes a day, but an hour or more of singles play 4-5 days a week will provide better weight loss results. Any exercise helps burn calories – try to be active daily.

Does pickleball build muscle?

Pickleball can help build muscle, especially in the core, legs, shoulders, and arms. The starting, stopping, and changing directions work muscles through a wide range of motion.

Is pickleball as good of a workout as tennis?

Pickleball provides an equivalent workout to tennis. While tennis may burn slightly more calories, both sports work the cardiovascular system and tone muscles throughout the body.

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