Healthy Heart, Happy Heart — Pickleball’s Common Thread

February is a particularly meaningful month for Middletown, Ohio native and, now pickleball-lover, Tonnie Reimer. First, as it’s National Heart Month, February serves as her recurring reminder of the prudent decision she made to get herself immediately to the nearest hospital after incurring “mild chest pain that radiated to her jaw” approximately 4 years ago.  Secondly, February – and the 14th in particular – now serves as a reminder of her engagement to the love of her life, Curt – and with the pants (you will see them in the video below), how could she forget?

February is National Heart Month

First, some important background information: According to the CDC, approximately 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year — which accounts for 1 in every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.

Know the Symptoms & Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

According to the CDC, heart attacks have several major warning signs and symptoms, including chest pain or discomfort, upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach, shortness of breath and nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats. As Tonnie alludes to in the interview, “Don’t mess around” if you have these symptoms. It could save your life.

Lifestyle Choices that Can Minimize Risk for Heart Disease

Tonnie’s Story

Four years ago Tonnie drove herself to the hospital because of  “mild chest pain that radiated to her jaw.” A week later she had open-heart surgery. Watch the following video and listen to Tonnie’s remarkable story of her heart attack, rehab, and how she is now leveraging pickleball to stay physically active — some four years later.

With the CDC stating that “for substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity,” Tonnie is surpassing these guidelines by doing 6-9 hours a week playing pickleball.  In her words, “pickleball  is so much better than walking on a treadmill.”  I can’t argue with that, Tonnie!

Valentine’s Day — The Proposal

If that wasn’t enough, February became even more special for Tonnie on February 14, 2018 — the day, Curt, with a pair of “Valentine’s Day-themed pants posed the question, “Will You Marry Me?” As a couple they’ve come a long way from their second date — which, appropriately enough, occurred on the pickleball courts. In just a couple of years, Curt has gone from understanding “pickleball” as “just a happy word” to now competing with the love of his life in regional and national tournaments.  (The clip below is a couple of minutes into the interview where Curt talks about how he met Tonnie)

So there you have it — healthy heart, happy heart!  If you have a similar story of how pickleball has impacted your life from a health perspective — or if you, too, have met the love of your life on the pickleball courts — please share below in the comments.  See you on the courts!

Coach Todd
About Todd

Todd is the talent behind PickleballMAX. He knows pickleball and demonstrates it on the court as a 4.5 – 5.0 player. In addition to creating content and running the PickleballMAX business, Todd is IPTPA Level II certified. As an instructor at the Ohio Pickleball Academy, he instructs students and runs adult and youth clinics. He also manages tournament desks throughout the tri state for tournaments ranging from 100-500 participants.

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  1. As a nurse and as Tonnie’s daughter, I love that she has found pickleball. She is religious about her cardiac exercise because she enjoys it so much! I share what I know about the sport with patients I meet hoping to motivate them as well.

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