Table Tennis Health Benefits

Top 7 Health Benefits of Playing Table Tennis

Table Tennis, like any other sport, has plenty of health benefits. But Table Tennis differentiates itself from other sports because of its inherent, unique characteristics. 

Table Tennis’ rapid pace forces players’ minds and bodies to work at a very high level. This unusual combination of brain activity, reflexes, and physical exercise brings several health benefits, unique to Table Tennis players, which provide 7 very clear reasons you should pick up your paddle more often.

1. Relieves stress and improves mental health.

Everyone experiences stress in their daily lives and I firmly believe there’s nothing better to relieve it than to smack a Table Tennis ball! 

Releasing our frustrations on the ball is the perfect way to unwind after a long day at work, or to cope with any stressful situation, really. 

It has been researched that hitting a punching bag is an excellent form of stress relief

While there haven’t been any specific studies about striking the ball and stress levels, in my personal experience, and according to the people I talked to, we all think that hitting the ball helps us release stress, in a similar fashion.

On the other hand, it has been proven that exercise plays a great part in cortisol regulation (the stress hormone). Exercise also improves our sleep quality dramatically and helps both prevent and treat mental disorders like anxiety or depression. 

When playing, the only thing we focus on is hitting the ball and trying to beat our opponent. It’s almost magical how Table Tennis can help us clear our minds. By focusing on the match that we’re playing, we forget about any problems we may have, and we feel much better after we finish playing.

If you’re going through a tough time, go to a Table Tennis club, play a few matches, and make new friends! You are scientifically guaranteed to have a good time since sports boost dopamine and serotonin levels.

2. Improves concentration.

Table Tennis is all about focus. Table Tennis players have to track a little ball and the spin it carries, while also focusing on moving, applying correct technique, and thinking about tactics. Table Tennis players are great at focusing, and this skill is incredibly valuable for other aspects of life such as working or studying.

Brazilian star Hugo Calderano even likes to include Rubik’s cube solving into his training, to help with his concentration when playing.

Huge Calderano - Health Benefits

In addition, Table Tennis forces us to work better under pressure. There will be lots of tournament situations in which you’re 9-9 in the final set and you’ll have to think about the best course of action to win the match, then execute it to the best of your abilities. Experienced Table Tennis players thrive under pressure since they’ve grown accustomed to it.

3. Keeps you fit and in good shape.

Like with most other sports, Table Tennis will keep you fit. Playing Table Tennis burns around 250 calories an hour, so if you want to improve your figure, then Table Tennis will definitely do so! In addition to this, it works the whole body. Table Tennis will especially target your legs and your abdominal muscles, in addition to your back and your arms. 

Another great benefit of Table Tennis is that it strengthens the joints and ligaments in our body, and it’s a very low-impact sport, provided that you play with suitable shoes, insoles, and good flooring. It’s one of the best ways to exercise without pressuring our joints, and playing the sport will help with mobility for older players (proven in many studies, including this 2014 Korean study).

Table Tennis doesn’t only work your muscles, it also works your heart, your brain, and your aerobic system. As a result, your overall health will also improve (lower cholesterol, lower risk of diabetes and heart disease, lower blood pressure, better sleep).

It’s also advised to stretch after every workout session, doing so will result in increased flexibility and agility. 

4. Helps with problem-solving skills and strategizing.

Table Tennis players need to observe their opponents and what they’re doing, then decide what shot they will play to give them the best chance to win the point. All of this is done in a matter of seconds. In Table Tennis, every game played is a puzzle to solve. Given our skillset, we have to defeat an opponent who will often have a completely different playstyle compared to ours. In these matches, you have to think about what you need to do to win points, while impeding your opponent from doing so.

Say, for example, you’re having trouble with your opponent’s serve. Will you start touching short? Or maybe push long? Is it better to flick it? Where will you aim your shots? Thinking about what strategies to use is critical as a Table Tennis player.

This process of problem-solving and strategizing strengthens our neurons, makes our brains more agile to react, and enhances quick thinking, all of which are incredibly advantageous perks to have.

5. Improves balance, coordination, and motor skills.

It has been proven that Table Tennis improves balance, coordination (especially hand-eye), and motor skills. These skills are crucial in everyday life, even if we don’t realize it. I’m a beginner piano student, and my teacher, at first, was surprised at how coordinated I am! 

The sport is great at teaching players how to use their bodies efficiently. When playing, they’ll be hitting a ball that weighs less than 3 grams, using the force created by their whole body and typically a fast racket. A lot of skills are required to do this correctly, especially being well balanced and coordinated. These skills will translate to anything we do.  

Older players will benefit greatly from Table Tennis since it’ll work their motor skills, and prevent or even stall Alzheimer’s and dementia. Table Tennis has also been proven to redirect blood flow to the brain, helping older players stay mentally sharp and preserve their memory for a lot longer. 

6. Stimulates the brain, improves mental acuity and memory.

As previously mentioned, blood flow is redirected to our brains when playing. This helps greatly with mental sharpness and memory. Studies have found that the prefrontal and medial temporal cortexes (which control thinking and memory) have a greater volume in people who exercise than in those who don’t. 

Table Tennis is great at keeping our brains sharp and efficient. According to Dr. Daniel G. Amen, it is the world’s best brain sport. Quoting his article:

“(Table Tennis) 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.”

Table Tennis players have even been proven to have higher cognitive functions than the general population. If that’s not a good reason to play, I don’t know what is!

7. Improves your reflexes and reaction time.

It’s no surprise that Table Tennis improves your reflexes. Balls can be struck upwards of 150 kilometers per hour, and the table is only 2,74 meters long. It’s very hard for anyone to react and successfully hit these balls, yet good table tennis players can pull it off consistently!

Reflexes are involuntary movements executed in response to a stimulus. They protect us from danger and help us move our bodies accordingly. 

Table Tennis is very reliant on reflexes, when our opponent hits a very fast shot, and we want to block it, we don’t think about it, it just happens. Fascinating, isn’t it?

However, a study found that, unfortunately, our brain’s reaction time peaks at age 24, then enters a slow decline. 

The good news is that you can actually slow down and even reverse the effects of aging by doing exercise, especially Table Tennis, given its unique emphasis on reflexes and reaction time. We suggest you go pick up your racket to stay sharp!

For older people who play, these advantages are even more significant. It’s crucial that the elderly maintain an adequate level of reflexes for safety reasons, and Table Tennis is the perfect sport for that.

Get All These Health Benefits Today

Now you know that you shouldn’t only play Table Tennis because it’s fun and a great way to make friends, but also because it has nearly endless health benefits! There are so many other reasons to play table tennis as well – check out our article to see our top reasons to play.

Don’t know where to start? Check out our guide to the places you can play Ping Pong.

Alvaro’s been playing Table Tennis since he was 15 and is now ranked within the top 200 in his native Argentina. He loves to compete in provincial tournaments and is always looking for ways to improve. Alvaro made his favourite memories with a racket in hand, and he joined the RacketInsight team to share his passion with other players!

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