Doing exercise will be beneficial to one’s health. Yes, that’s very right. But what kind of exercise, in this case, table tennis exercise? Is it a very hard and exhausting exercise every day? Footwork drill? Or just doing the basic counterhit will be beneficial? Do we need to be an elite table tennis player to get the health benefit of this sport?
Better Functioning of Immune System
One of the biggest benefit of exercise for health is improved immune system. It means if you exercise regularly for about 3-5 times a week, you have a good chance to boost your health. Initially, research found that doing moderate exercise will temporarily boosts immune system. It’s because while doing exercise, the blood will circulate within the body better, so the immune system in the blood can fight against infectious agents more effectively. After exercise, this process will gradually return to normal in a few hours. Later, it is believed that doing moderate exercise regularly will make this effect more long-lasting. Research found that recreational exercisers doing regular-nearly-daily running reported fewer colds in a year than the ones who don’t. However, there’s evidence that doing too much intense exercise can reduce immune system.
MET or VO2max
To find out whether you’re having a moderate exercise or not, there are several method. You can calculate your MET (metabolic equivalent) or VO2max, which is impractical. If you’re walking, its about taking 100 steps per minute. But we’re talking about table tennis, right? So let’s talk about something practical. If you’re doing exercise, pay attention on how you breath. If you don’t notice any change of breathing pattern, it means you’re doing light exercise. In most cases you won’t even break a sweat, unless it’s very hot or humid. If you breath more quickly, but still able to converse with full sentence, it’s more likely you’re doing a moderate exercise. If your breath becomes deeper and rapid, and you must pause in conversation to catch your breath, then you’re doing a heavy exercise.
For more objective measure, you can examine your heart rate. First, you must know your maximum heart rate. It’s the upper limit of your cardiovascular system to endure physical activity. It’s simple. Just substract your age (year) with 220, and that’s your maximum heart rate. For example, let’s say I’m 25 year old. So my maximum heart rate is 220-25=195. Moderate exercise is defined as having your heart beats around 50-70% of your maximum heart beat. Light exercise is 30-50% while heavy exercise is 70-85%. So if I want to do a moderate exercise, my heart rate target is (50-70%)*195=98-137bpm.
Huan Yu Zhang in his journal entitled Estimation of Energy Consumption from Heart Rates of Chinese Professional Table Tennis Players in Training Conditions wrote about the heart rate and doing certain table tennis practice drill. Let’s compare it with my heart rate target. While doing the forehand practice, the average heart rate of the male subjects is 107 bpm. That’s already within my target. How about forehand-backhand alternate practice? The average is 126 bpm for male and 122 bpm for female subjects. That’s fine with me, too. The loop drive-smash and footwork practice? The average is 143 bpm for male and 134 for female subjects. I think I won’t do this much.
Lastly, for the final words. Remember that the condition between individuals are varies. The one condition for one person doesn’t always fit for others. My writing also isn’t an exact measurement for everyone. Listen and be honest to your body. Consult your physician if it’s necessary. Moreover, don’t forget to have fun while playing table tennis. I am a strong believer that living a happy life also leads to better health.