Table tennis is a real sport with an estimated 900 million players playing the sport worldwide. The fact that the sport is calm, peaceful and almost injury free makes it a popular choice. Millions of people across the world indulge in this game right from disabled or retired people to school going children or business professionals. This game not only builds your hand-eye coordination but also promotes tactical thinking and strategy building. Another great advantage of this game is that it does not require a lot of space and can be enjoyed in a small room with just a table tennis table and couple of paddles.
Table tennis, also known as Ping Pong in some countries, is rated as one of the games with the highest rate of mental stimulation. It is highly recommended for kids as it has low injury risk and is less stressful.
Parents these days often get confused as to which sport they should enroll their children. With so many other options, the importance of table tennis often sidelines, but this powerful game has a lot of benefits for your kid’s brain along with many other health benefits.
So what are some of these benefits?
- Develops mental sharpness
Table tennis helps to develop mental acuity in a kid. According to reports, Alzheimer’s patients reported an improvement in their brain sharpness after playing table tennis consistently. Engaging your children in this game right from the start helps to keep them more mentally alert and focused. This game increases the blood flow to the brain and reduces the risk of dementia, i.e. a chronic disease resulting in memory loss.
Table tennis also regulates decision-making and problem solving skills. Kids learn the skills quickly and also benefit a lot as they need to calculate the speed and the placement of the ball coming within a second. This sport keeps their mind engaged completely.
- Increases mental stimulation
You cannot even afford to get distracted for a second in this game. It stimulates different parts of your brain, especially the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is usually used during strategic planning. The aerobics and the bodily movements involved in the game stimulate the hippocampus area that enables an individual to maintain long-term memories.
Similarly, the parietal lobes of the brain, which translate sensory information, are also stimulated in the process of following the ball and then reacting to spin. With increased practice, the brain starts performing better.
- Develops Motor Control
Table tennis is also very beneficial for developing the motor skills in a child. The motor control part of the brain is used to coordinate movements and activities associated with different body parts. There is a high degree of speed and unpredictability in this game. A person needs perfect micro-movements, quick decision making and precise hand-eye coordination to perform well in this game. Playing table tennis regularly has shown improvement in the primary motor cortex and the cerebellum.
- Improves the mood
Table tennis has a drastic effect on your mood. An irritable child will quickly get composed after playing a game of table tennis for a few minutes. The reason behind this is that this sport triggers the increase of neurotransmitters which are chemicals that govern the transmission of signals and messages from and to the brain.
With the increase in the levels of neurotransmitters, depression is reduced. Neurotransmitters regulate many functions of the brain such as memory, stress, emotions and movements.
- Enhances memory
Table tennis helps in increasing the levels of BDNF- brain derived neurotrophic factor, a protein that promotes the healthy growth of neurons. BDNF helps in preventing diseases such as Parkinsons and Alzheimer’s. The hippocampus region of the brain constantly has an increase in the number of cells throughout a person’s life. BDNF also helps the survival of these cells and stimulates their increase.
- Improves Balance
Table tennis is also quite beneficial to the cerebellum area of the brain that is responsible for controlling motor movements. As a child plays this sport, the cerebellum area lights up and becomes active. Various body balance activities such as walking, running and such others are controlled by the cerebellum.
- Improves Decision-Making Skills
This game enables the player to make better strategies as they need to constantly adapt their plan to the opponent’s weaknesses. The player has to constantly think about their next move and make decisions quickly.
The awareness of this game has increased today as more and more people are getting to know about its benefits. Table Tennis is an Olympic Sport and has been regarded as one of the best games for the brain. According to Wendy Suzuki, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience and psychology at New York University has, this game is not only a fun activity but also helpful in preventing chronic conditions like Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
With so many benefits, it is best to get your kids enrolled in this game right from the start. Table tennis is not only a healthy and entertaining sport but also quite a beneficial one.