Table tennis (known colloquially as ping pong) is one of the world’s most popular sports and pasttimes. But it offers a lot more than just enjoyment – there are the obvious physical and fitness benefits, and numerous other health and wellbeing benefits you may not have considered…
The Well-Known Health Benefits
- Cardiovascular Exercise
- Improves Fitness
- Improved hand-eye coordination
- Gentle on joins
- Stimulates concentration
An hour of table tennis (for a 160lb person) will burn around 280 calories. How does this compare to other popular sports and activities in the United Kingdom?
Check out the infographic below.
Brain Areas Stimulated
Table tennis is like ‘aerobic chess’ according to Dr. Amen from the Table Tennis Charity Foundation, stimulating both body and brain. Here are hte parts of the brain worked by the sport:
Stimulated by tracking the ball and reacting to spin.
Stimulated by focus and concentration on the game.
Stimulated by tacking the ball through space, as well as identifying / reacting to spin.
Stimulated by overcoming your mistakes / lost points.
Stimulated by staying calm while under pressure.
Stimulated by planning shots and strategising, as well as the physical actions.
Keeping the Brain Healthy
Studies suggest that table tennis is extremely good for the brain, making it particularly useful for treatment of the elderly and cognitive diseases:
Can help the elderly feel ‘awakened’ and more mentally alert.
Improves Cognitive skills and spatial awareness of players.
“Table Tennis is the best brain sport ever. It’s highly aerobic, uses both the upper and lower body, is great for hand-eye 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.” – Dr. Daniel Amen.
Treatment of Brain Diseases
Recent studies have suggested that table tennis could be beneficial in the treatment of brain diseases, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
The best types of exercises for Parkinson’s and other dementia patients are aerobic and learning-based exercises, which are ‘neuroprotective’ and counter the progression of the disease. Table tennis is ideal, as it causes the person playing to do the following:
- Change Tempo
- Change Activity
- Change Direction
- Maintain Balance
- Increase Heart Rate
- Judge Trajectory
- Keep Concentration
- Increase Blood Flow
“The clear increase in motor skills and cognitive awareness from playing table tennis is significant, if not remarkable, in its unique benefit for brain disease patients” – Alzheimer’s Weekly
- Increased cerebral blood flow
- Improved sleep patterns
- Increased body strength
- Increased coordination
- Improved mental / social health
This infographic is by Home Leisure Direct.