Unlike many sports, ping pong is a game that is suitable for anyone. Young, old, small, or large, everyone can have a great time playing and improve their overall health. While ping pong is well-known for its physical advantages over other sports, such as a reduced risk of injury. Its mental health benefits are far less explored. Here is what you need to know!
Heightened Mental Sharpness
Table tennis is a very complex sport that requires split-second decision-making. This places high demands on your brain and gives it a full workout. Tracking the ball and analyzing spin stimulates your parietal lobes and occipital lobes, and planning a return shot stimulates your prefrontal cortex and cerebellum. Now imagine doing this repeatedly over 30 minutes. That’s one hell of a mental workout.
You even develop your mental power in between points. Table tennis is a heavily strategy-driven game. And you are constantly developing your game plan with each successive point against your opponent. This means in between points you are thinking ahead and formulating a plan for the easiest path to victory. Many players will repeatedly bounce the ball on their ping pong paddle to buy time before serving for a few more precious moments of thought.
In fact, brain expert Daniel G. Amen claims table tennis is the “world’s best brain sport”. If that’s not a reason to get started playing, I don’t know what is.
As ping pong is a mentally demanding sport, it requires an abundance of concentration. A tiny lapse of attention and you’ve read the spin wrong, and the point is lost. It really is a game of margins.
Developing your ability to zone out your surroundings and concentrate on a sole task is a useful skill that will serve you well in all areas of life. Not just in ping pong.
Helps Fight Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is a condition of progressive cognitive decline. Given that ping pong promotes cognition, healthcare experts are increasingly recommending ping pong as a remedy for Alzheimer’s sufferers. This is not to say that it cures the disease. But rather, it helps prevent it from developing, and enhances the quality of life of those who are living with it.
The Bounce Alzheimer’s Therapy Foundation (BAT) is leading the charge against Alzheimer’s with the aid of table tennis. They are working closely with Butterfly, the world’s largest table tennis manufacturer, to create Alzheimer’s-friendly equipment such as enclosed arenas and dedicated table tennis bats.
Encourages Social Interaction
Table tennis, at its heart, is a social sport. It encourages people to converse and have fun together. Not all sports have such an effect. Those with big playing areas such as tennis and football allow for little chat so they are not quite as beneficial in this respect.
Table tennis also brings together unlikely individuals. As a sport that is widely played by people of all ages, you often end up speaking with individuals that you would never normally approach. At table tennis clubs you frequently rotate the players you play with to expose you to a range of styles and to develop your skills.
You can even play doubles for a more informal ping pong session. This, in turn, helps you develop a more comprehensive social circle and enriches your life.
Games are important to relieve the stress of everyday life. After a long exhausting day of work, it’s healthy to unwind by playing some sports. It only takes a short while for dopamine and serotonin to flood your brain which enhances your mood.
As such, you should aim to perform sports several times per week. It also serves as a physical workout which helps you feel better about yourself.
Table tennis is without a doubt one of the top sports for mental health that you can play. Not only does it provide a stress-relieving workout with friends, but it also forces you to give your brain a comprehensive workout in an enjoyable way.
With such strong advocation in the scientific literature, it is certainly a sport you should try. As mentioned earlier, anyone can play as it isn’t too physically demanding, yet the benefits you gain from it are far-reaching.