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Staying Healthy
 
SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Pickleball is addictive. Excessive playing time on hard courts, particularly for new players, can contribute to what is commonly referred to as Green Legs and Hamstrings (GLH). Toes, arches, ankles, Achilles tendons, calves, knees, and hamstrings are most commonly affected. All players are reminded to balance your passion for the game with the need to listen to your body.
 
Note: The Surgeon General obviously has far more important things to do than talk about Pickleball. That is not, however, the case here in Pickleburg.
 
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A few reminders:
  • Stretch before and after you play, every time you play. Warming up thoroughly before you play will help you avoid muscle pulls and strains. Stretching afterwards will minimize your stiffness and make you more flexible.
  • Vary your exercises. Pickleball is asymmetric in that it will strengthen your paddle arm more than your other arm. Use other exercises to keep your body in balance and strong everywhere.
  • Eat well and get your rest. Pickleball is physically demanding. Your body cannot perform without adequate rest and healthful food.
  • Listen to your body. If some body part hurts, let it rest. Be alert to pain in your ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows, or back. Being aware of aches and pains will help you gauge which are minor, which are new, and which are serious.
  • Do not play more matches than your body can withstand. In fact, force yourself to sit out a game, even when you think you are ready to go. Try to keep your playing schedule balanced so that you do not have too many matches with too little recovery time between them.
  • Increase your fitness level gradually, over time. It takes time to develop the full fitness needed for Pickleball, despite the fact it all looks so easy. Do not expect to get fit overnight or over one weekend.
  • Buy new shoes. Your feet take a pounding, and so do your shoes. If you are playing often, replace them every three to six months even though they still look great. They fail from the inside too.
  • Hydrate before, during, and after you play. Water is essential for your athletic performance. Stay hydrated, and you will increase your chances of performing well, avoiding injury, and recovering as quickly as possible. Electrolytes matter.
  • Keep a positive mental attitude, and remember that Pickleball is a game. There is no need to add mental stress to the varied physical stresses of your game. Once you have prepared as well as you can, get on court, get in the moment, and enjoy the game!
(Adapted from article on About.com Racquet Sports)