Here's how it started. My mother urged me to go check out "pickleball."Casually, I popped over to the local courts, buzzing with people. They were hitting a bright plastic ball on a small court and were having a lot of fun. Pondering trying it, I realized this "pickleball" had three desirable qualities: I could meet new people, I'd get some exercise, I'd enjoy myself, and this looked easy-- easy enough that a person like me who wasn't super athletic or in stellar shape could do it.
Fast forward to 6 months later, and here's what was occurred. Typically, while I could do a class at the gym, it took "a lot" of effort. While I would walk, it was never super long. And I definitely never wanted to get overheated. With pickleball, all this changed. This sport was amazing. It was incredibly fun! Instead of my usual lackadaisical approach to exercise, I'd play pickleball for two hours and still need a few more games. With pickleball, I'd be playing in the afternoon, all hot and sweaty, but I'd "power" through with cold cloths, lots of water, and even a small portable fan.
Because of pickleball and this new addiction, my body went from "exercise avoidance" to a new "athleticism"; imagine a slightly overweight woman with an Olympic athlete determination. I started taking classes and clinics, doing lots of drills, and playing with many different people. The great thing is that all this exercise/effort was seemingly effortless because it was so fun! However, from all of this new super athletic intensity, and because of my age (58), my body started to complain. And it wasn't a quiet complaining. It was more of a roaring, angry, indignation. I suffered through it. What I want to share is how playing pickleball created physical issues for me and some tips to get through it. Pickleball is addicting and while fun for all ages, it has a specific appeal to an older crowd. Since many of us are older, and not in perfect physical shape, many experience similar issues.
First, it was my feet. In the beginning, my feet ached. After playing, the bottoms of my feet hurt when I walked. Think about it: after running around and pounding one's feet for 3 hours, the feet are subjected to supreme abuse. First, I made sure I was wearing court shoes that better support the feet/ankles when making sudden turns. Next, I purchased this wooden roller from Amazon. When my feet were sore and achy, I would do this foot massager for 3 minutes. It worked like a charm, took the pain away, and I could walk just fine. I was skeptical about trying this, but I'm glad I did as it made all the difference in the world. I'd always bring this foot massager with me especially if playing in a tournament. Nowadays, I don't use this so much, but it wasn't definitely crucial to get me through those early days.
Next, is CBD cream. With the legalization of hemp, we are now seeing CBD creams; athletes use these creams all the time for varying aches and pains. This brand VitaFlow Sport is widely known in the pickleball community and people swear by it. I used the samples and just bought these two items: RECOVER and RESCUE (a cream and a spray) to put in my pickleball bag. You'll see these guys at many tournaments, or place an order online at www.vitaflowsport.com. You can use coupon code FLOWPB15 and receive a 15% discount.
The next item I LOVE is this electric massager. I use it on my hip flexors, sore calves, sore thighs, and even sore pinky fingers....(haha...just kidding about the pinky finger.) This one is priced right and it works great. My friend Kelly (also a pickleball player) bought one for her husband, but who did you think is really using it? It comes with a charger, along with different heads. I bought mine at a tournament, but they're available at jolttherapytool.com. I told Bill over at Jolt Therapy about this article, and he said it's $10 off for those of you placing an online order-use the code PICKLEBILLY...Thanks, Bill!
Pickleball is the best sport around, but we need to be aware of the physical stressors. These items helped me get through the early days. Now, I am now very careful about bending my knees while playing, keeping good posture, and doing exercises to strengthen my core. I do whatever it takes to keep me out on the court, and am proud to be a member of the "older" generation who's getting all this great exercise which brings vitality to my health and my life!
I hope you're taking care of yourself, keeping yourself strong so you can keep playing our favorite sport. See you out on the courts, and as always, happy pickling!!
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