On the Apple Newsroom page, Apple notes that the Apple Heart and Movement Study reveals tennis and pickleball are a win for overall health, as pickleball’s popularity continues to rise.

In one of the largest observational datasets of pickleball activity collected using Apple Watch, researchers found trends in both pickleball and tennis workout data that highlight the potential health benefits of both activities.

Participants often played pickleball and tennis for long periods of time, averaging a peak heart rate within 70% of their estimated max heart rate during recorded workouts. Pickleball workouts lasted for slightly longer than tennis workouts, while tennis workouts averaged more time spent in higher-intensity heart rate zones and had a higher average peak heart rate.

Researchers also saw a steady increase in the popularity of pickleball workouts, with pickleball workouts surpassing tennis workouts for the first time. Utah took the top spot as the state with the most recorded pickleball workouts per capita in the study. The research found that both pickleball and tennis workouts were popular across all adult ages, and both were more popular with men than women. 

“The Apple Heart and Movement Study offers us remarkable opportunities to follow participants’ behavior changes and the consequences of these changes on health,” said Calum MacRae, M.D., Ph.D., a cardiologist, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and principal investigator of the Apple Heart and Movement Study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Following the growth of pickleball using Apple Watch data allows us to explore emerging trends and the effects of activity on multiple metrics of health and wellness that were not accessible before.”

The Apple Heart and Movement Study is one of three public research studies Apple introduced in the Research app, in collaboration with leading institutions. The Research app gives researchers the ability to broaden the scale and scope of their studies, helping uncover new scientific findings, and furthers Apple’s ability to create new features grounded in science in the process.

After analyzing more than 250,000 pickleball and tennis workouts recorded on Apple Watch by study participants, researchers found pickleball workouts were slightly longer than tennis workouts on average — 90 minutes versus 81 minutes, respectively — and saw greater variability in time played. 

To assess the intensity of each workout type, researchers analyzed heart rate data. 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.

Heart rate zones are another way to assess exercise effort. While both sports had similar trends in time spent within each heart rate zone, on average, tennis workouts had nine percentage points more time in higher-intensity heart rate zones compared to pickleball workouts.

Both pickleball and tennis workouts were often played for long periods of time, with participants averaging a peak heart rate within 70 percent of their estimated max heart rate during recorded workouts. Regular physical activity is associated with improved quality of life and healthy aging.

What’s more, the study offers participants an optional mental health survey that includes a depression screening tool called the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2).  Across the study, results consistent with a depressed mood were rare, but the distribution of PHQ-2 scores was lower among frequent pickleball and tennis players. 

The odds of the PHQ-2 results suggestive of depressed mood were 60.1% lower among frequent pickleball players and 51.3% lower among tennis players than the general participant pool, reinforcing the potential benefits of physical activity on mental wellbeing. 

Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today