Are you playing pickleball? Did you know it is the fastest-growing sport in Hampton Roads, Virginia? Did you know that Physical Therapy can be a huge help to your Pickleball Game? Not only is it popular in coastal Virginia, but it is becoming a nationwide trend. Here is a current statistic:

“USA Pickleball reported its membership, which reached 70,000 players in February 2023, increased by 30% in 2022. The growth prompted the Sports & Fitness Industry Association to name pickleball the fastest-growing sport in America for the third straight year."  -Pickleball Portal

With so many playing pickleball in your community, you may be wondering how physical therapy can help your pickleball game.

The Demands of Pickleball

Pickleball is fun, social and can be played in many locations in our communities. But the sport can also be physically demanding. Pickleball is a full-body and muscle workout. As an example, here are the muscle groups that will be engaged as you play the sport: 

  1. Lower Body: The lower body is crucial in generating power, speed, and agility during pickleball movements. Muscles include quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and hip muscles.

  2. Core Muscles: The core provides stability and transfers power between the upper and lower body. The core also helps with balance and agility—two key roles while playing pickleball. Muscles in your core that will be engaged for pickleball include abdominals, lower back muscles, and stabilizing muscles.

  3. Upper Body: The upper body muscles are involved in hitting shots, particularly the serve and volleys. Muscles needed include shoulder muscles (deltoids and rotator cuff), biceps, triceps, and forearm muscles.

Find out how dry needling can help relieve sore and injured muscles

pickleball player at net

Suppose you are already experiencing discomfort within any of these muscle groups or feel sore and fatigued just reading this list. In that case, you can already see how physical therapy can help your pickleball game.

Remember that the intensity and demands on specific muscle groups may vary depending on your playing style, technique, and individual factors. A Therapy Network physical therapist can assess your needs and develop a tailored training plan.

5 Ways to Improve Your Pickleball Game with Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can indeed be beneficial to training for pickleball. TTN therapists are experts in assessing and improving movement patterns, strength, and flexibility. They can provide guidance and exercises and help you prepare for the physical demands of pickleball. A therapist can enhance your performance while reducing the risk of injury. Here is how physical therapy can help your pickleball game: 

  1. Injury Prevention: Physical therapists can evaluate your movement and identify potential areas of weakness and imbalance. At The Therapy Network, we will develop a customized exercise program to address those issues and reduce the risk of pickleball injuries.

  2. Strength and Conditioning: Pickleball involves quick movements, agility, and physical power. Physical therapists can design strengthening exercises to target the muscle groups involved in pickleball. Your therapist will create an exercise plan to enhance your game performance.

  3. Flexibility and Range of Motion: To prevent injury, flexibility and range of motion are essential for pickleball players. A therapist can provide stretching exercises and techniques to improve flexibility and joint mobility.

  4. Balance and Coordination: Pickleball requires good balance and coordination. A TTN therapist can help you improve stability and coordination on the pickleball court.

  5. Injury Management: If you have a prior injury or are recovering from a pickleball-related injury, a Therapy Network therapist can develop a rehabilitation plan tailored to your needs. Your therapist will promote healing, help you regain strength, and safely return to playing pickleball.

Find out how PT can improve your daily life!

If you are playing pickleball or considering the sport, it is time to schedule an appointment with a therapist at The Therapy Network in coastal Virginia.

No Physicians’ Referral or Prescription Needed in Virginia

You have learned how physical therapy can help your pickleball game, but did you know you do not need a physician's referral to visit The Therapy Network? You can schedule an appointment today if you are ready to meet with a physical therapist and improve your pickleball game.

If you live in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, there is a location of The Therapy Network near your neighborhood or place of employment. If pickleball is your new favorite activity, schedule an appointment today!

Finding five ways to exercise living near or visiting Virginia Beach, Virginia has many benefits. One of, if not the largest benefit, is our famous stretch of beach and boardwalk. Virginia Beach has a world-renowned sand beach and 3-mile long boardwalk that provides numerous opportunities for exercise and has frequent national events including sand soccer, volley ball, Something In the Water, and even Monster truck rallies. When you combine any two of these activities, you can find at least five fun ways to exercise at the beach.

Something In The Water Crowd - WTKR TV

You do not need a gym membership to find fun ways to exercise in our region. Recently, we published a blog about Coastal Virginia walking trails that provide a great starting point for your exercise journey.

From sunrise walks to yoga and biking, there are many ways to enjoy our regional beaches. Here are our five fun ways to exercise at the beach…and tips.

Go For A Walk

People walking on beach
Exercising at the beach

Go for a walk on a sandy beach in Virginia or walk along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Both provide healthy and free exercise. If your choice is to walk on a sandy beach, be sure to follow these tips from The Therapy Network: 

  1. When walking on sand, start slow and practice moderation. Walking is low-impact aerobic exercise, but you do have to adjust to each step sinking in the sand.

  2. Wear shoes. You may be tempted to walk on the beach barefoot, but being barefoot puts more tension on your tendons and joints.

  3. Set your beach walking schedule around low tide. You can avoid the slope of the sand if you walk at low tide and near the water.

Enjoy a walk at sunrise, a mid-day workout, or an evening stroll. Walking on the beach or the adjacent boardwalk is a fun way to enjoy the beach and the benefits of exercise.

Yoga and Pilates

Many use yoga and Pilates to reduce stress, exercise, and tone. Add beautiful beach scenery and you have the perfect recipe for a fun activity on the beach. Here are some helpful tips for beach yoga and Pilates from the therapists at The Therapy Network: 

  1. Leave the mat at home. It is perfectly OK to leave your yoga mat at home for your next beach yoga experience. Let the soft Virginia sand be your mat.

  2. But remember the sunscreen. Beach yoga and Pilates reduce stress and help you relax, but do not relax your efforts to prevent skin cancer. We always suggest sunscreen when exercising outdoors, especially at the beach.

  3. Remember to hydrate. Bring your favorite water bottle and remember to hydrate.

If yoga or Pilates is part of your fitness routine, we are sure you will want to add it to your five ways to exercise at the beach.

Go For a Run

You may be a runner that has a bucket list of favorite runs. Running along the water's edge on a Virginia Beach may be on that list. But running on the beach comes with a set of challenges, and it is crucial to follow these tips below to stay safe and prevent injury:  

  1.  Keep long runs to the boardwalk. Running on sand is challenging, making it difficult to run for a long time.

  2. If you do decide to run on the soft Virginia sand, ensure that you change direction often to compensate for the slope of the beach. Set your schedule to run at low tide and on the firm sand along the waterline.

  3. As with walking, always wear shoes when running on the beach.

  4. With any exercise on the beach, stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.

If you are new to running, be sure to discuss both your running plan and your beach running plan with a professional. A professional therapist can provide custom tips and ensure your shoes are well-fitted.

Swimming in the Ocean or Chesapeake Bay

Although swimming is an excellent source of exercise, swimming in the ocean's open waters or Chesapeake Bay takes some pre-planning and experience. Here are some essential tips:

  1. Review the NOAA Rip Current Survival Guide  

  2. Only swim in a lifeguarded area

  3. Never swim alone

  4. Be Aware: Heed weather and water conditions and warnings.

Although swimming is of the top five ways to exercise at the beach, it is crucial to swim responsibly and heed all warnings.

Biking, Kayaking, and Paddle Boarding

Coastal Virginia has a unique infrastructure for biking, kayaking, and paddle boarding. All three are fun ways to exercise at the beach and surrounding waterways.

Need a bike? A favorite place to bike is along the flat, safe Virginia Beach Boardwalk. You will find beach bikes to rent along the way. Warm weather brings many visitors to the boardwalk. Some will be on bikes while others run or walk. For safety, we always suggest that you wear a helmet and be aware of your surroundings. Please make sure to watch for those stopping to take photos.

If kayaking or paddle boarding, tell someone about your plan and when to expect your return. And ALWAYS wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). If you are looking for places to launch your kayak or SUP, check out the website Virginia Water Trails

The Therapy Network

After reading this blog, you may be thinking about enjoying these five fun ways to exercise on the beach. Fitness for these fun activities should be within your reach. However, if you are looking for a little help getting started, The therapists and athletic trainers at The Therapy Network are available to review your fitness level with a free wellness check. Remember, you never need a prescription to visit The Therapy Network.

If you live in the Hampton Roads area, there is a Therapy Network clinic near your neighborhood or place of work. We have appointments available today and do NOT require a prescription. Browse our website and make an appointment at one of our therapy centers today.

Marathon Training - Part 4, Peak Phase

Time to run fast! Repetition and interval training! We discussed the BASE and BUILD phases of our running program utilizing endurance periodization. Next, let’s talk about is PEAK phase. Here, we increase the intensity of running, defined by adding interval or repetition training. Hill training can fall into either category. With an increased workload, adding rest breaks to the run is essential. This peak phase of running should finish one to three weeks before the race. Peak training is completed at an above-threshold rate. The heart rate variability (HRV) should be between 90-99% (ZONE 4-5) or “hard!”. PEAK training improves speed and maximizes aerobic power and running economy. Aerobic capacity is defined as how much blood (carrying oxygen) can be delivered to the muscles and how well that oxygen can be converted into energy. Otherwise known as VO2 Max.

We can reach our goals in the peak phase by incorporating interval and repetition training.

Interval runs: intervals should be HARD running for 1-5 minutes (max of 5 minutes), and the speed should be about the max speed you could race at for 10-12 minutes. If you’re more comfortable picking a distance versus time, start with 800 meters and progress to 1200 meters. Rest in between and repeat. Rests should be no longer than the time you spent running. Interval training targets aerobic power.

Repetition training: short duration than intervals (never more than 2 minutes) at even higher speeds. The speed should be comparable to your current max one-mile time. The rest should be longer – about two to three times the time spent running. Again, if you’d rather distance versus time, start with 200 meters and progress to 400 meters. Elite runners can progress to 600 or 800 meters. Repetition training targets improving the speed and economy of running. Typically, interval training is perceived as “harder” than repetition training. Look for my next post to discuss what tapering for races looks like and the goal of rests.