I was talking to a friend recently about what she does to stimulate creativity and relieve stress. She loves to play ping pong. She said she loses herself in the game and those nagging worries and stressful thoughts disappear for a while. It also gives her time to connect to the family and friends that she plays with.
Ping pong, or table tennis as it’s sometimes referred to, has gained some mainstream popularity in the past few years. Table tennis clubs are popping up across the country. Some even have celebrity endorsement or ownership like Susan Sarandon’s club SPiN in New York. This increased interest is good news for our brains. Renowned clinical neuroscientist and psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen says the table tennis is the “number one brain sport”.
Obviously this is a great activity for improving your hand-eye coordination and motor function, but it also improves critical thinking skills. Imaging of the brain shows that table tennis increases activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain that controls planning and strategy. Will Shortz refers to table tennis as “Chess on steroids” because of the workout that the game gives our strategy skills. Table tennis also improves attention and focus, and the physical exercise that it provides stimulates the hippocampus, which can improve memory.
Don’t have a club near you? Don’t have room for a table in your home? No problem. We carry a fabulous portable set called Pongo Ping Pong. It’s also great for setting up on desks or conference room tables for a mid-day brain break.