Staying fit is on the top of more and more people’s lists these days and rightly so. With obesity assuming an ominous place as the number one health problem for children in America, the time has come for us to start treating our bodies better. Despite the startling statistics, there is something misleading about getting serious about fitness: fitness doesn’t have to be serious.
There are countless activities that we can participate in to get the Surgeon General’s recommended thirty minutes of daily aerobic activity. If walking sounds too boring and running too strenuous, why not try ping pong?
Play for 30 Minutes Every day
That’s right, playing ping pong for thirty minutes can burn more calories than walking briskly for the same amount of time. Simply put, exercising, no matter what kind of exercise, forces the body to consume the energy or calories, that we put into it. Not only that, as the body burns more calories, it actually begins to perform better, burning more calories even when we’re not exercising.
Changing your diet can help you lose weight, but dieting alone can cause the body to feed on its own stores of energy; not just fatty tissue, but muscle tissue as well, leaving the body weak and vulnerable.
So why not ping pong? Ping pong is a lot more fun than the repetitive motion of the treadmill or the monotony of lifting weights. The great thing about choosing ping pong as a method of exercise is that you can have fun and burn calories as you play.
In addition, all you need is a ping pong table, ping pong paddle, and ball. But also, as you improve, you will burn even more calories in the same amount of time. Your rallies will get longer and games will get more intense as your skills sharpen, which will gradually result in more physical activity at a pace your body can keep up with.
Proper Way of Exercise with Playing Ping Pong
Start at a comfortable pace. Your legs, buttocks, and abdominals will take most of the strain as you play table tennis, so be aware of these areas. If you feel discomfort, take a break. There’s no need to suffer. Not only will ping pong give your muscles an anaerobic workout which will strengthen and tone them but moving back and forth across the ping pong table is an aerobic workout that will strengthen your heart and lungs.
As with any physical activity, be sure to stretch afterward. Good flexibility is essential for avoiding injuries. This will also improve your footwork as you move around the ping pong table, which will lead to a heightening of your game and a greater sense of satisfaction.
Warm up and cool down properly. Before you start the actual ping pong gameplay, bat the ball back and forth across the ping pong table to get your blood flowing and your muscles loose. Stretching afterward will increase your flexibility and help your body cool down at a healthy rate, thus reducing soreness.
So there you have it. A few friendly games of basement ping pong can get us back on the right track to beat the obesity epidemic. Never underestimate the power of any kind of physical activity. People who exercise regularly are happier and live longer. And chances are, they’re better at ping pong too.
Conditioning The Body For Competition
A couple of days ago, I was playing table tennis with a group of friends at the local college I attend.
There was one player in particular who seemed to be out of breath. I asked him how long has he been playing and he replied,
This is my second game.
Of course, this wasn’t the answer I was expecting. However, the outcome was everything that I expected- he lost the match.
While not the most talked about subject, conditioning the body has to rank as one of the most overlooked things in table tennis. Having no endurance can seriously affect your game as well as cause you to get nasty injuries such as twisted ankles, tennis elbow, and shoulder injuries.
So here are some tips to keep in mind to keep you focused on the game instead of catching your breath.
Short Bursts of Energy
Because table tennis involves short bursts of energy, you must train for this kind of sport the right way. This starts by getting the proper amount of sleep.
Develop a Regular Sleep Pattern
Since most people operate best when they get 7 to 8 hours of sleep, make sure that you’re getting this. Try to develop a regular sleep pattern where you go to bed and awake about the same time.
Warm Up Stretching
Make sure you also stretch prior to any exercise or play. This will give you more flexibility and a greater range of motion. Stretching will also help prevent you from getting injured.
You also want to include running as part of your conditioning but don’t get overzealous with this. Long distance running isn’t needed so do sprints between 10 to 40 feet. Allow yourself one minute to rest then start over again.
Use a medicine ball to improve your explosive power in your arms and body core (stomach area). You only want to do one to three sets of this because you’re getting in shape to play table tennis, not football.
To get more strength in your lateral (sideways) movements, do two to three sets of squats and the same amount for lunges to the side. Make sure you use good techniques with your chest up and the shoulders back.
Practice with Dumbbells
To strengthen your rotator cuff, use lightweight dumbbells. A great exercise with dumbbells is to start with your hands by your waist. Alternate your arms bringing the dumbbell up towards your chest.
The best-conditioned athletes are the most dominant. Follow the tips above and you’ll become a much more dangerous player on the court.
5 Surprising Ways The Right Music Makes You Better At Table Tennis
Maybe you enjoy listening to music before playing or during training, but did you know there are scientific benefits to it? Or, as we’ll find out sometime the wrong music can actually have a detrimental impact!
But your back might hurt from carrying a cello while you play!
5. Train harder without feeling like you are (or at least enjoy it more)
As told by a 2008 article by Costas Karageorghis and David-Lee Priest, a study has shown that music lowered the perceived exertion of moderate-intensity treadmill running by 10%. This result was not replicated during high intensity running, but test subjects still reported an improved experience, suggesting that hard training feels more fun when listening to music.
4. Raise your heart rate
In this post, I’ve already talked about how having an elevated heart rate can make time slow down. According to this article about a study done at the Pavia University in Italy, the volume and tempo of music can help to raise your heart rate, which is great for preparing to play, but it can also help bring it down, which would come in handy for times when you’re feeling too hyped up or anxious, and need to calm yourself down a bit.
3. Learn new skills faster
The same 2008 article mentioned above contends that the rhythm of music provides cues to improve the timing of key aspects of new skills. Well chosen music with lyrics that reinforce essential aspects of a new skill is also thought to be beneficial, as is the fun often added to a learning environment by music, and with it more intrinsic motivation to master new skills.
2. Move with more efficiency
Listening to music while training has been shown to increase movement efficiency in rhythmic sports by allowing athletes to sync their movements with the music. In one study, participants who cycled in time to music found that they required 7% less oxygen to do the same work as compared to cycling with background (asynchronous) music. Luckily for us, table tennis is one of the most rhythmic sports in existence!
1. Get in “the zone”
“The zone” is the holy grail of sport, where athletes enter an altered state of awareness where the mind and body operate automatically with little conscious effort. In a 1998 study co-conducted by Dr. Karageorghis of Brunel University, 1,231 dance students were surveyed about their ability to get in the zone or attain “flow” as it is also known while listening to music.
There were high correlations between ratings of the music and ratings of “flow”. “We concluded that music may have a considerable effect on enjoyment levels during exercise and selecting the ‘right’ music may be a key factor…” Karageorghis wrote.