Healthy table tennis revolution

June 09, 2017

Terry Keenan, Barb Trainor and Vonnie Deering enjoy the gentle exercise and great entertainment provided by table tennis, held each week in the Nagambie Mechanics Hall.

Whether you are playing doubles or singles, table tennis is a great way to de-stress from day-to-day life and enjoy a wide range of physical and mental benefits while having some good old-fashioned fun — and without the aid of digital enhancements or screen time.

As a non-contact sport and using a ball which weighs only a few grams, table tennis is practically a risk-free game without putting any undue stresses and strains on dodgy joints.

As far as Olympic sports go — the game caters for extreme feats of precision and speed to the absolute limit of human agility, but at social levels it can accommodate even the most limited movements, while still retaining a high entertainment value.

Table tennis players do not run the risk of being struck by lightning, breaking bones, banging heads, being eaten by mozzies or being mistaken for a deer.

Venues are generally airconditioned and the kettle is only a tea-bag away, which leads to healthy social networks and is a great way to make new friends, especially if new to the district.

Here are a few health benefits of joining the table tennis revolution:

●Playing improves hand-eye coordination: It stimulates mental alertness, concentration and tactical strategy, making it the perfect game for people to sharpen reflexes.

●Develops mental acuity: The speed, spin and placement of the ball are crucial in table tennis, and practiced players are highly skilled in 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 is easy on the joints: Have you had knee surgery, back problems, or are tired of twisting your ankles? Try table tennis — it is a great way to improve leg, arm and core strength without overtaxing your joints.

●Burns calories: A 70kg beginner player can easily burn around 300 calories playing table tennis for only an hour. Elite players can burn more than 500 calories in a single match.

●Offers a social outlet: Whether you play in the community hall or at home with friends and family, table tennis offers a great way to bond with other people while you exercise. Because young and old people can play the game, it can improve communication and build relationships across generation gaps and enable family members to spend quality time with each other.

●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 found that the sport markedly increases the flow of blood to the brain, and could possibly even prevent dementia.

●Improves balance: Staying balanced and being able to quickly change direction are the keys to being successful in a table tennis rally. This is especially important for the elderly.

●Stimulates 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 memory.

To give table tennis a try, why not come along to the Nagambie Mechanics hall and join in one of the programs.

The club offers competitive (graded) games on Wednesdays from 7pm, but also runs a social over-50s non-competitive morning from 10am until noon every Thursday and another flexible format night each Thursday night from 7pm.

As well, Thursday’s after-school coaching program is building nicely with sessions from 3.45pm and 4.45pm for ages eight to 17.

Activate Nagambie also runs rock ’n’ roll dance lessons each Friday night from 7pm at the Nagambie Senior Citizens Hall, which is also good for brain health.

For information, phone Chris on 0428398026 or Christine on 0499995380, or email activate [email protected] or search facebook for Activate Nagambie.

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