Hot Flush Love Table Tennis: 9 Reasons why table tennis is a perfect peri, post and menopause exercise
We may well have found Jo’s exercise of preference!
Table tennis, ping pong or whiff-waff? Whatever you want to call it, according to Ping Pong England, there’s no difference between the games, unless you’re on the competitive circuit and a member of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and a true competitor, sorry we’re not!
It began as a Victorian parlour game, is now popular worldwide and is even an Olympic sport. It’s a game that can be played by all ages and abilities, even for those who have heart issues.
Leisure centres offer tables to rent, you can buy your own outdoor table tennis table, get attachments to clamp onto your dining table, exclusive trendy clubs like Shoreditch House have a vast space dedicated to the game and they’re now springing up in public places. The Lottery-funded Ping! Initiative launched in London in 2010, has brought table tennis tables to parks, urban spaces and even outside rail stations. All you need is a bat, a few brightly coloured balls and a partner to play with.
What are the rules of table tennis?
The rules are similar to those of tennis, but the smaller scale and reduced movement make it more accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Just like tennis, you can play solo or in pairs.
- The first player or pair to reach 11 points wins the game.
- You score a point by making a shot your opponent fails to return, or when your opponent’s return doesn’t hit your side of the table.
- If both reach 10 points, the winner is the first to gain a lead of two points. Whoever wins the most of an odd number of games is the overall match winner.
With menopause memory loss you may just want to play for fun, just working as a team with your partner to keep the longest rally possible.
What are the health benefits of playing table tennis?
Well, we’re giving you 9 reasons why Hot Flush love table tennis and why it’s a perfect peri, post and menopause pursuit.
The sport’s high-intensity cardiovascular activity strengthens your heart and tones all core muscles, in the upper and lower parts of the body. It’s a fab aerobic exercise. As you rush out on your feet sideways at the table, your heart rate escalates causing massive spikes in the body’s oxygen usage. Your lung capacity expands due to those intense, faster and deeper breathes.
Table tennis helps improve your hand-eye coordination and stimulates your mental alertness, concentration and tactical strategy. Making it the perfect game to sharpen your reflexes, and the more you play, the more you can refine your tactics.
The speed, spin and placement of the ball are crucial in table tennis, and the better you get the more skilled you become in developing accuracy both in creating and solving these puzzles. Keeping an eye on the ball’s trajectory as your opponent spins a curveball across the table equips you with eagle-eyed awareness.
Your arms, core and shoulders get a workout as you swipe for the ball. In a fast-paced game, you’ll work your legs and ankles as you dash between the corners. Due to the short-distance nature of the sport, both large and small muscle movements are improved. The game is distinguished by bursts of exertion and recovery, leading to fast-twitch muscle development.
Table tennis is easy on your joints. Have you had back, or knee problems, or just tired of twisting your ankles? Try table tennis. There’s no heavy equipment, low risk of accidents and the swift movements don’t strain joints. Playing has gentle impacts on the body, making it ideal if you have constraints, or have broken joints. It’s a great way to improve your leg, arm and core strength without over-exerting those joints.
Considering the fact the sport is entertaining and addictive, it can be a fun and easy way to burn calories. The calories burnt playing table-tennis beats walking on treadmills due to the quick, vigorous movements. Your body responds differently to table-tennis, and the number of calories used will differ depending on your weight, intensity of play, and the time spent during your game. A Fitbit might be a useful gadget to work out what you lose.
Sharpens the brain
OK, so we’re not quite there yet, but prevention is what we’re all about. Alzheimer’s Weekly reported 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. 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.
Improves strength & balance
This is a great game to strengthen all your core muscles at the front and posterior parts in your body. The high-energy moves strengthen your back and abdomen with the crossways twists of side abdominal muscles. Staying balanced and being able to quickly change direction are key to being successful in a rally.
Whether you play in a public space with friends or at home with family, table tennis offers a great way to bond with others whilst you’re lightening a little of the extra menopause load. Playing at home could bring family members closer and enable more quality time with each other.
We urge you to give it a go, see if there’s a table in your park, we’d not really paid attention to the one in our local park, and it seemed no one else had either. We love it, probably more for the social side of playing, we can have a good old chat whilst batting the ball backwards and forwards. We’re not sure how many calories we’ve burnt, but we feel most of them were running after missed balls, and we’ve not even mentioned the benefits to our gluteus maximus! Perhaps the next thing is to get a Fitbit?