Why we should all follow Roger Federer’s example in ping pong

Table tennis has grown in popularity during lockdown, with Liberty Games reporting a 250% year-on-year increase in table sales in 2020.

This month, Kathryn Wylde, chief executive of the nonprofit Partnership for New York City, said finance bosses were even offering employees on-site ping-pong tables to entice them to return to their office after the pandemic.

As one of the fastest-paced racquet sports, the required visual and spatial awareness can sharpen reflexes, improve hand-eye coordination and arguably boost brain power – so much so that a 2014 Korean study on of women over the age of 60, published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, suggested that table tennis stimulated cognitive function more than weight lifting, walking, dancing or gymnastics.

Research in 2016 found that it may improve the ability to concentrate in children with ADHD.

In the United States, the Sport and Art Educational Foundation runs a table tennis therapy program for elderly people with dementia while in 2020 scientists from Japan’s Fukuoka University discovered that table tennis could slowing the progression of Parkinson’s disease, with five hours of playing time. one week reducing tremors, stiffness in limbs and slowness of movement.

Because it is low impact, it can be enjoyed at any age. The World Veterans Table Tennis Championships, held in Oman next year, has a category for the over-90s. Professional players can burn up to 500 calories per game, the rest of us 200-350 calories per hour with quads, hamstrings and arm muscles put to good use.

And while ping pong may not have the high profile of today’s tennis, it is just as competitive. It might not be the last time we see Roger Federer on the court, but with a smaller racquet in his hand.

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