Excellent Health Advice for all Ping Pong Players

Ping pong is a racket sport that can be defined as a physically intensive activity. It demands its players to have strong stamina, or else you could have severe injuries. Like any other game out there, ping pong also requires you to follow a particular fitness program and lifestyle changes to last on that ping pong table!

playing ping pong
playing ping pong

Your body muscles, tendons, and ligaments need to be flexible and fit enough to handle quick movements. Every ping pong player attends practice sessions, but what else is necessary? Are there any specific eating habits to follow? Any specific exercises that could help you build stamina? Let us see:

Ping pong is all about short sprints!

When you hear the word “ping pong,” what activity do you picture first? That’s right- sprints! The ping pong game is all about intensive and short sprints with intervals in between. And that’s precisely how you should perform sprint training!

sprint training
sprint training

Make sure you practice powerful and speedy sprints with a little resting time. Such sprint training will strengthen your muscles and also cause overall fat loss. Overweight and inflexible muscles are two primary reasons for slow sprint speed.

Ping pong players need to master the skills of hitting and responding to the stroke. And, this is only possible when your arms and leg muscles are amply strong.

Another considerable advantage of sprint training is that your cardiovascular health also improves. Running errands without rest will lower your muscle strength, whereas sprint training makes you respond fast!

Don’t skip Lateral Training:

Nothing is more annoying than you not being able to change directions quickly in your game. Proper coordination and flexible change of your body’s movements are two significant winning shots. And that’s precisely what lateral training does to your body!

You are exercising side-by-side to train your body to improve its limb strength, stamina, balancing abilities, and stability as well. Include lateral jumping and squatting in your exercise routine to make your movements more flexible and faster.

Strengthening your legs:

The strength of your legs decides your win in ping pong matches. Include jumping workouts into your daily exercise routine to enhance the stability and strength of your leg muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Jumping is an activity that will help you work on your muscle coordination!

Something for your arms!

Just like leg strength, your arms also ought to be strong and flexible to handle shots with ease. Different arm exercises will train you to increase the speed of arm movements and make them pliable. The more you train, the faster your movements will be in the game. Note that!

Make “speed” and “frequency” your focus points during these training sessions. Resistance training works best in strengthening your bones and connective tissues (ligaments and tendons).

Now, that was all about physical training. But what about your diet? If you have been practicing sincerely yet cannot see any progress in your game, you know it’s time to change your diet.

We always tend to underestimate the significance of a healthy and nutritious diet plan. As a ping pong player, you certainly have to switch your lifestyle and embrace a healthy diet to improve your game.

So, what kinds of foods work best for you?

Foods that boost your energy levels:

Ping pong game requires you to be highly active. The amount of calories you burn during a standard ping pong match (over 500 kcal) is significantly more than what is burned with 1 hour of brisk walking.

healthy food
healthy food

That is precisely why you feel like your energy levels are draining as you reach the end of the game. It is only the case for players who don’t monitor what they are eating. If you are skipping foods that boost your energy levels, then you are missing out on something precious!

Try to focus on carbohydrates! Carbohydrates should occupy about 60% of your meal. During a ping pong match, energy supplied to your body mainly comes from glycogen stored in your muscles. If you consume carbohydrates adequately, they will be utilized to replenish this storage. All in all, carbs will boost your energy levels during a game.

Want to know excellent sources of carbohydrates? Whole grain cereals (wheat, oats) and brown rice work as an excellent booster of energy levels. Apart from this whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain bread must also be included in your daily meals. Again, you could go for almonds, honey, sweet potatoes, apples, etc., to boost energy.

Carbs are essential for your game!

Few examples of meals you could take 24-hours before your ping pong match are baked potatoes with cheese (low-fat), pancakes with maple syrup, oats with milk and dry fruits, banana roll-ups, etc.

Foods that enhance your reflexes:

Quick action and reaction are a must during any ping pong match. Your reflexes need to be highly active and responsive. That’s where food’s role in enhancing your brainpower comes in!

Try to include olive oil and coconut oil while cooking your foods. Fruits that are rich in antioxidants, such as grapes, berries are also very remarkable. Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to maintain your brain’s health for an extended period. So, don’t forget to eat foods like walnuts, eggs, and salmon that are excellent for your mind.

Developing Lean muscles!

Many people are unaware of the fact that being good at ping pong needs you to develop muscles! That does not mean you got to have huge bulging muscles, but building lean muscle is a must!

For that, protein is what you need the most. Protein not only helps to repair muscles but also creates new muscle fibers. Moreover, when the glycogens in your muscles are drained out, protein acts as a backing fuel.

Now you know the importance of protein as a player? At least 15% of your calories must come from protein. Hence, as a basic guideline, try to consume 1.2 grams of protein per kg/body.

Fish, poultry, and eggs are the primary sources of protein. Plus, chickpeas, nuts, and lentils also work excellently.

Stay hydrated no matter what!

Eating healthy food and following a nutritious diet is not enough when your body is dehydrated! And take heed, juices are not always as hydrating as the main star itself, viz. water! Make sure you drink about 6 to 8 glasses of water every day.

As you sweat, your body loses a lot of water during ping pong matches. Dehydration might cause players to lose concentration and even faint in some cases. So, stick to hydration.

Play Table Tennis and Boost Your Immune System

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 challenging and exhausting exercise every day? Footwork drill? Or just doing the basic counterfeit will be beneficial? Do we need to be elite table tennis players to get the health benefit of this sport?

immune system
immune system

Better Functioning of Immune System

One of the most significant benefits of exercise for health is an improved immune system. It means if you exercise regularly about 3-5 times a week, you have an excellent chance to boost your health. Initially, the research found that doing moderate exercise will temporarily increase the 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.

The 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 the immune system.

MET or VO2max

There are several methods to find out whether you should have moderate exercise or not. You can calculate your MET (metabolic equivalent) or VO2max, which is impractical. If you’re walking, it’s about taking 100 steps per minute. But we’re talking about table tennis. So let’s talk about something practical.

If you’re doing exercise, pay attention to how you breathe. 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 breathe more quickly but can still converse with a complete sentence, it’s more likely you’re doing a moderate exercise.

If your breath becomes more profound and rapid, and you must pause in the conversation to catch your breath, then you’re doing a heavy exercise.

For more objective measures, 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 subtract your age (year) with 220, and that’s your maximum heart rate.

For example, let’s say I’m 25 years old. So my maximum heart rate is 220-25=195. Moderate exercise is defined as having your heartbeats around 50-70% of your ultimate heartbeat. Light exercise is 30-50%, while heavy exercise is 70-85%. So if I want to do a moderate workout, my heart rate target is (50-70%)*195=98-137bpm.

In his journal entitled Estimation of Energy Consumption from Heart Rates of Chinese Professional Table Tennis Players in Training Conditions, Huan Yu Zhang wrote about the heart rate and doing specific table tennis practice drills.

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 males and 122 bpm for female subjects. That’s fine with me, too. The loop drive-smash and footwork practice? The standard is 143 bpm for male and 134 for female subjects. I think I won’t do this much.

Lastly, remember that the condition between individuals is varied. The one requirement for one person doesn’t always fit for others. My writing also isn’t an exact measurement for everyone.

Listen and be honest with your body. Consult your physician if it’s necessary. Moreover, don’t forget to have fun while playing table tennis. I am a firm believer that living a happy life also leads to better health.

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Warren Davies

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