Most people think of games like football, cricket, and other similar outdoor games when it comes to sports. But when they watch indoor games during the Olympics, they’re left in awe. One such indoor game is ping pong, aka table tennis. If you have ever seen a ping pong match in action, you must know how exhilarating it could get.
For those who don’t know, ping pong is a game that is played on a specific table that has a net fixed in the middle. Two players stand at either end of the table and play using a hollow plastic ball. The rules are similar to that of regular tennis except that the game is played entirely on the table. The players hit the ball using a racket. During the match, it is not allowed to touch the ball with anything but rackets.
History of Ping Pong
Ping Pong was invented in the 1880s in Victorian England as an indoor variety of lawn tennis. It was supposed to be a game that could be played during winters. It was a convenient game for everyone as the equipment didn’t take much space inside the house.
Originally, many names were given to this interesting game. It was called Pim-Pam, Whiff Whaff, Pom-Pom, etc. In 1901, the Ping Pong Association was formed in London, and the name stuck. The association was dead by 1905, but the game was adapted by many cities outside London. By 1920, Ping Pong had become a famous game in other countries as well.
In 1926, World Table Tennis Federation was created with England, Sweden, Hungary, India, Denmark, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Wales as the founding countries. By the end of the 1990s, more than 165 countries were a member of this federation.
During the early years of the Ping Pong Championship, European countries were the ones to win. The tables were turned during the 1950s when Asian countries took this game seriously and started taking the lead. China, Japan, and Korea are among the most winning countries. China also won the first Ping Pong World Cup in 1980.
Ping Pong and Health
The game of Ping Pong may be an indoor one, but it is an excellent way of burning calories. Wondering how? Because it requires your entire body to focus on a tiny ball. The moment you lose focus is the moment you lose a point. Your brain and bodywork in unison to deliver a perfect stroke at the perfect time.
Not that there should be any doubt about the benefits of playing Ping Pong, following are some wonders that it does to our body:
1. Improves Hand-Eye Coordination
As said earlier, Ping Pong is all about controlling the ball. Your eyes and must be at the ball at all times, and your hands must be focused enough to hit it properly. Since the table has limited space to play, it requires much practice to master this coordination. You focus your eyes on the ball while keeping your hand with the racket alert at all times. That is a peak example of muscles coordination, and it can be improved by playing Ping Pong regularly.
2. Helps in Weight Loss
Anything physical burns up calories. You burn up calories, you lose weight faster. While you don’t have to run miles during a Ping Pong, you still have to stand and move your arms. Plus, the alertness with which a player stands is nothing but stress which eventually burns calories. You can feel your leg’s muscle getting tight with every stroke of the ball. In short, Ping Pong is a fun way of shedding extra weight.
People with weak joints cannot play sports that require running or heavy stress. Ping Pong is easy on joints as it requires limited leg movement. Those who suffer from knee pains or back injuries can easily play Ping Pong.
In fact, playing this game might help with their joints getting all frozen and painful. The game only applies mild stress on the joints with the slightest movements, resulting in a happy, pain-free match.
4. Keeps the Brain Sharp
World-famous psychiatrist and brain image expert Dr. Daniel Amen has endorsed Ping Pong as the world’s best brain sport. Brain sport? But how? It’s not a puzzle to solve. Indeed, it is not a puzzle to solve, but it is a highly aerobic game that requires your whole body to be alert at all times. Your legs, hands, eyes, and even your brain should be focused on a single ball.
In a fraction of a second, you’ll have to plan your stroke, decide whether to swing the ball or not and in what direction, and then repeat the whole process. All this brain activity wakens up different areas of the brain. When you are done with an intense match, your body and brain should feel alive and exhausted.
5. Improves Reflexes
Ping Pong is a short-distanced yet fast-paced game. Within the dimensions of the table, you’ll have to perform all the actions. This means that your arms and legs should move fast and accurately before the ball goes out of your hands and you get a foul. While playing the perfect stroke, you improve your reflexes. Your hand sticks to the movement of the ball so that you don’t miss it.
With enough practice, you can make sure that your strokes are quick yet accurate to the point.
6. Helps with Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Old people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are recommended to play Ping Pong. It has been proven that playing Ping Pong enhances cognitive awareness and causes blood to flow through the brain actively. It enhances brain activity and hence, can prevent these diseases in old age. People already suffering from these can improve their overall brain activity with all the required focus during the game.
7. Improves Body Balance
Yes, everyone with healthy legs can walk, but how many have perfect balance? You might have seen people who walk with their bodies lose and trips over things easily. Playing Ping Pong can help a person get balance. The alertness with which a person stands during the match is bound to tighten up muscles.
In ten seconds, you may have to change your body’s direction ten times depending on your opponent’s stroke. By regularly playing Ping Pong, you will notice a balance in your walk and a nice posture.
8. A Social Game
In this modern-day and age, people hardly get time to go out and play with their friends. Outdoor games require proper planning and nice weather to accomplish those plans. Ping Pong, being an indoor game that can be played whenever you want. You can invite your friends over and catch up on each other’s lives. You can also take part in your city’s Ping Pong league and make new friends. Ping Pong can also be played with 2v2 players. In addition, it really is a great game to make new friends over.
Any physical activity is good for your body and mind. Sitting idle for long hours and doing nothing causes back pain and makes a person lethargic. Relaxing is one thing, but making this a routine/habit is extremely unhealthy. Understandably, not everyone has the stamina for exhausting games like football or basketball. But the least they can do is invest their free time in games like Ping Pong. It is competitive and fun to play.
Like everything in life, you will have to practice hard to master the game. Who knows, you might even end up befriending your opponent all while losing that fat off your body.