Every assisted living community and memory-care community in the East Bay and beyond should provide residents with a ping-pong table.
Other good news about table tennis:
- No heavy playing equipment needed.
- Low risk of collisions, injuries, or falls.
- Improves your concentration and reflexes.
- Easy way to burn calories — 30 minutes of high-speed table tennis can burn 270 calories in a 150-pound person.
Table tennis helps your cardiovascular system and improves overall fitness level.
Researchers at my alma mater Boston University recently discovered that cardiorespiratory fitness can change the brains of older adults. A physical activity that enhances cardiorespiratory fitness, such as table tennis, could lessen age-related brain decline. Scientists say that cardio fitness is “linked to the structural integrity of white matter fiber bundles in the brain in the older adults,” with no similar association for younger adults.
Ping-pong’s perfect for people recovering from sports injuries or those having joint problems that make other high-speed sports not feasible. It’s the rare competitive sport that lets you indulge in fast movements without straining your joints.
As a teenager in the ‘70s— back when joints had nothing to do with bone structure — playing ping-pong with my dad was one of our favorite ways to hang out together. Whether you play it in a community center or at home, table tennis offers a great way to bond with people while you lose weight. My sense is that playing a game that requires directly facing someone enables stronger bonding potential.
Since young and old people can play it together, ping-pong can help improve communication and build relationships. Playing at home with siblings or parents can bring folks closer and enable more quality family time.
Beneficial for Older People
Table tennis improves reflex, eye-hand coordination, mental alertness, and speed of movement. It also improves balance and lowers the chances of falls and injuries, especially among older people.
Bottom line: Table tennis can slow the process of cognitive decline that occurs with aging.
Here in the East Bay, some cities have weekly table tennis clubs set up by their Parks & Recreation Department. Or you can play at these great places:
Albany Table Tennis Center
Alameda Table Tennis Center
Concord Table Tennis Club
Fremont Table Tennis Academy
Pleasanton Table Tennis Center
Walnut Creek's 55+ housing development Rossmoor even has its own award-winning table tennis clubhouse.
P.S. “Table tennis” is the sport's official name. “Ping-pong” is a trademarked name owned by sporting goods maker Escalade Sports, and first registered as a trademark by game company Parker Brothers. It’s the name typically used for the recreational game, instead of the Olympic sport.
Naturally we know that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet . . . .
Interested in a table tennis club for older adults? Please email me and let me know!