Table tennis is a top sport enjoyed by players of all ages. This is in part because it poses little risk of injury — it’s non-contact and features light equipment. Therefore, it is much easier on the joints than many other sports.
It also gives your body a complete workout, and by this, I don’t just mean your lower and upper body, but also, your mind. Table tennis can be an extremely brain-stimulating sport. Here’s how.
Boosts Mental Sharpness
Table tennis is one of the fastest racket sports in the world. You don’t have much time to react when your opponent strikes the ball. This forces your brain to respond quickly or else you will lose the point. As such, regular table tennis sessions can train your brain to think faster, making you more alert.
Studies conducted in Japan found that playing table tennis resulted in increased blood flow to the brain, thereby mitigating the odds of developing Alzheimer’s. This has led to experts recommending table tennis as a drug-free form of Alzheimer’s therapy. Organisations such as Bounce Alzheimer’s Therapy (BAT) are pushing to make table tennis even more Alzheimer’s friendly with specialised equipment.
Full Brain Workout
There’s a lot to think about in table tennis. From the direction, to speed, to spin, to strategy. Your brain is firing on all cylinders to keep you in the rally. This causes multiple areas of your brain to operate, such as the cerebellum and prefrontal cortex.
Your brain barely gets a breather in between points, too. To win in table tennis you need an effective strategy, so there is no let-up before points commence as well.
Upgrades Your Decision-Making Skills
Decision-making is a key component of any sport. But once again, as table tennis is so technical, your decision-making skills are really put to the test. Throughout matches you are analyzing both your mistakes and the flaws of your opponent to enable you to adapt.
And your strategy is constantly evolving throughout the match as you acquire more information about how you and your opponent match up. Having an effective strategy is key to success. It will allow you to beat opponents who possess more skill than you do.
Improves Hand-Eye Coordination
Your brain determines the quality of your hand-eye coordination. And it needs to be in tip-top shape if you want to be a great player. Given that table tennis balls travel up to 70 mph, you have little time to play an effective return.
You also need to account for various factors such as the spin, speed, and trajectory of the ball before knowing where to place your bat. It is a very difficult process and can take a while to get the hang of. But with adequate practice, your reflexes sharpen, and you will notice this in other areas of your life outside of table tennis.
Elevates Your Mood
Table tennis is a high-energy sport, and you can’t help but feel great while playing it. Ping pong is simply exhilarating. Adrenaline pumps around the body resulting in a natural high.
Feel-good neurotransmitters also release, such as dopamine and serotonin. This helps fight depression and gives you a much-needed break from the stresses of everyday life.
What’s more, as table tennis is a great calorie-burner, it helps to keep you in shape, which in turn improves your confidence.
Betters Your Balance
Table tennis causes the balance area of your brain, the cerebellum, to light up like a Christmas tree! Even at a beginner level, table tennis involves a lot of leaning, twisting, and level-changing.
This makes it the ideal sport for the elderly who often have sub-par balance. The more you play, the better your balance becomes.
Not only does table tennis excel at improving your cardiovascular system, but it also stimulates your brain in a way most other sports cannot replicate. This is backed by scientific studies which show that table tennis works multiple areas of the brain. Ping pong even helps reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s — what a reason to get started playing!