Health Benefits of Table Tennis

Promoting and achieving positive health for people is a complicated process. At its heart lies the achieving of a large number of items which develop positive health. These are known as Health Determinants.

Regularly participating in table tennis improves a surprisingly large number of these health determinants. This has been researched by a number of authors. One of the most helpful results of this research is the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life by Samir Becic (it can be ordered from Far FromThe Madding Crowd). The Top 10 are detailed below.

  • Stimulates mental alertness, concentration and tactical strategy. This makes it the perfect game for young people to sharpen reflexes, and for older people to refine tactics.
  • Develops mental acuity. The speed, spin and placement of the ball are crucial in table tennis, and practiced players are highly skilled in both creating and solving puzzles involving these three attributes.
  • Improves reflexes. Due to the fast-paced, short-distance nature of the sport, both gross and fine muscle movements are improved. The game is distinguished by bursts of exertion and recovery, leading to fast-twitch muscle development.
  • It’s easy on the joints. Have you had knee surgery, back problems, tired of twisting your ankles? Try table tennis. It’s a great way to improve your leg, arm and core strength without overtaxing your joints.
  • Burns calories. A 150-pound person can burn 272 calories by playing table tennis for an hour. It can be a fun and easy way to burn calories.
  • Offers a social outlet. Table tennis offers a great way to bond with other people while you lose weight. Because young and old people can play the game, it can help improve communication and build relationships, irrespective of age.
  • Keeps your brain sharp. Alzheimer’s Weekly reports a clear increase in motor skills and cognitive awareness from playing table tennis after a series of preliminary clinical studies in Japan found that table tennis markedly increases the flow of blood to the brain, and could possibly even prevent dementia.
  • Improves coordination. Following the ball as it moves quickly towards you, and following its trajectory as your opponent hits, it helps improve hand-eye coordination.
  • Improves balance. Staying balanced and being able to quickly change direction are key to being successful in a rally. This is especially important for the elderly.
  • Stimulates various different parts of the brain. By anticipating an opponent’s shot, a player uses the prefrontal cortex for strategic planning. The aerobic exercise from the physical activity of the game stimulates the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is responsible for allowing us to form and retain long-term facts and events.

By promoting Table Tennis, Linlithgow Longcroft Table Tennis Group is helping to improve the health of its members.

Health Fitness Revolution by Samir Becic Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization, to make the world a healthier, fitter place.

Ken Thomson
(Chair) – Linlithgow Longcroft Table Tennis Group