Research Says Playing Table Tennis is Good for the Brain

Most people don’t like to work out. Why? Argh!!! The answer is-  gym, the sweat, the energy spent, and the injuries such as cuts, fractures, joint pains, or cramps are the main reasons.

People don’t like indulging in strenuous physical activities. Also, there are age factors and various physical attributes, such as age or certain diseases that prevent strenuous labor.

Must be wondering what would be its alternative? Yes, Table Tennis is the solution.

Table tennis, however, is free from all these limitations and provides both physical as well as mental health benefits. It is the most popular indoor sport with millions of players around the world, a sport you can enjoy irrespective of age and physical conditions.

Everyone- young, old, able-bodied, or disabled can play or enjoy at some level. It is a simple sport at the beginner’s level, and it takes no time at all to learn basic skills. Logistically too, the game requires next to nothing, a couple of rackets and any old table can be used with books or scarves acting as a net.

What Does The Research Say?

Table tennis is a retro indoor sport that requires both mental and physical activity, but it’s especially a game which requires a person to use their brain. The mental benefits of this sport are manifold.

Doctor Wendy Suzuki, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at New York University says in an interview for ABC News: “In ping pong, we have enhanced motor functions, enhanced strategy functions, and enhanced long-term memory functions.”

Many scientific researchers have proven the fact that table tennis stimulates the parts of the brain responsible for strategizing, motor skills and balance, areas that grow stronger with every game. Doctor Miriam Stoppard as a part of the International Mental health awareness week did a study of 164 Korean women aged 60 and above to show that table tennis improved more brain function than other intensive activities like dancing, walking or gymnastics.

Many sports physiologists corroborate her statements and have found out through research that table tennis exerts more influence on the cognitive functions than other types of exercises. Table tennis act as a miracle to the brain that prevents Dementia.

Now, let us all delve into the manifold benefits that this game offers to its players.

How good is table tennis for the brain?

Improves Mental Acuity:

Table tennis :

  • stimulates alertness,
  • improves reflexes and
  • helps in the development of tactical and strategic thinking.

Why?

Because the game requires a lot of mental stimulation as it involves anticipating the opponent’s every move and matching (responding to) their movements stroke for stroke. It requires thinking on one’s feet and devising newer techniques of attack and defense.

Maintains and Improves Brain Activity:

Many scientific studies conducted by different journals report that this sport improves motor and neural skills, stimulates various parts of the brain, increases blood flow to the brain and could prevent Dementia and Alzheimer.

Improves Memory and Retention Skills:

Playing table tennis stimulates the activity of the hippocampus, a part of the brain which is responsible for retaining long term memory.

Improves Logical and Strategic Thinking:

Regular players develop skills in creating and solving problems involving the direction, speed, and serving of the ball. Automatically, it sharpens your brain, and the results could be seen at your workplaces too.

Competitive Spirit and Teamwork:

Table tennis is a friendly competitive sport, teaches valuable life lessons, builds community and team spirit, and teaches people how to cope with both wins as well as losses.

Improves Decision-making Skills:

Players utilize mental calculations and vision to pass judgment on the speed and then play the ball. The research proposes that playing Table Tennis can improve the capacity to focus and help with making better decisions.

Reduces Stress and Anxiety:

A team sport, such as table tennis helps people to release stress and forget about their troubles for a short period. It helps in decluttering the brain, produces endorphins which improve the mood, and promotes creative thinking.

Improves Balance:

Since the sport requires the player to change their direction and position quickly, it helps in improving balance.

Improves hand-eye coordination:

The sport hinges on anticipating and quickly judging the direction of the incoming ball and using one’s hands in tandem with the eyes and hitting it. Playing the sport often helps significantly improving hand-eye coordination, especially in younger people. Well, I would personally suggest, give your kids a proper training in table tennis. If not as a career, maybe for their physical well being.

Reduces the Reaction Time:

Reaction time is the time taken by someone to respond to a situation. People with sharper reflexes have a slower reaction time, and thus they react quickly to emergencies.

So many benefits!!!! Thus, even more, reasons to begin playing it immediately.

Table tennis is a viable career option for many. You can play it professionally at a community, district, state, national, or international level.

The Endnote

When was the last time that we interacted with someone on a real face to face basis? It would do well for all of us as a society to get together from time to time and forge strong relationships. So guys, take out a few moments from your already cluttered life and take some time to enjoy life for real, outside the virtual arena of computers. A quintessential community sport, like table tennis, will help you bond with friends, neighbors, family, and even strangers.

Is table tennis good for the brain? It comes with an obvious answer, yes? A big YES

And not just for the brain but for the whole body.

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