The Health Benefits of Table Tennis
Worldwide millions of people play table tennis, and with good reason. It is entertaining, fun, fast and has great health benefits as well. Because of the low risk of injury table tennis can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. When played regularly it improves reflexes, hand-eye coordination and balance, while toning and strengthening the core muscles, upper and lower body. It’s great for working up a sweat and increasing your heart rate, thus helping to keep your heart strong and healthy. Not only is it a good cardiovascular exercise, it is also a great aerobic workout. When running about the table your heart rate increases and your body’s requirement for oxygen becomes much higher, therefore you breath heavier, faster and deeper, which increases lung capacity in addition to how efficiently your lungs use oxygen.
As well as being a fantastic physical work out, table tennis is also a great mental work out. You have to plan strategies and decide what spin to put on the ball, whilst trying to stay one step ahead of your opponent and react to the shots they are playing all at the same time. Decisions have to be made in split seconds, this increases concentration levels, short term memory and decision making ability. All this mental exercise boosts hormone levels and keeps the brain young, which can slow the progress of cognitive decline that occurs with ageing. It is also a sport that is good for social bonding, with its friendly but competitive nature, it can be enjoyed at your local club where you can meet with new people and form lasting friendships. It can also be played at home as a great way to spend more quality time together and bring the family closer.
Renowned physician, psychiatrist and brain imaging expert, Dr Daniel Amen, says that ‘Table Tennis is The World’s Best Brain Sport!
The following was what Dr Amen had to say about table tennis:
‘You still may think that calling table tennis a sport is silly, but I think it is the best brain sport ever. It is highly aerobic, uses both the upper and lower body, is great for eye hand coordination and reflexes, and causes you to use many different areas of the brain at once as you are tracking the ball, planning shots and strategies, and figuring out spins.
It is like aerobic chess. Plus, table tennis causes very few head injuries. Table tennis, or Ping Pong, is the second most popular organized sport in the world. What is even more impressive is that it is the youngest of the world’s major sports. At the competitive level, players hit the ball in excess of 90 miles per hour across the table!’
Ward off Alzheimer’s & for assist in the treatment of Dementia!
Numerous studies have found that table tennis activates various areas of the brain simultaneously. By playing a game of table tennis, under any conditions, an overall state of awareness is stimulated – requiring both thought and physical alertness at the same time.
It has been also discovered that people in otherwise sedentary states – i.e., living in retirement homes and care facilities where table tennis tables have been introduced, have actually become mentally awakened when playing the game. Incredibly, the game is now being recommended as a method of warding off Alzheimer’s and for assisting in the treatment of dementia.
Most notably, Dr Daniel Amen specifically points out that table tennis:
- Increases concentration and alertness
- Stimulates brain function
- Develops tactical thinking skills
- Develops hand / eye coordination
- Provides aerobic exercise
- Provides social and recreational interaction