The Power of Table Tennis: Improve Physical and Cognitive Function in Parkinson's Disease
The World Parkinson's Table Tennis Championships, regulated by the International Table Tennis Federation, is a fantastic event that showcases the benefits of regular table tennis practice for individuals with Parkinson's disease. This year, we celebrate the event in Crete, Greece from 1 to 5 November 2023, bringing together people with Parkinson's disease from around the world to compete in a friendly and supportive environment.
Research has shown that regular table tennis practice can significantly improve physical and cognitive function, boost mood and well-being, and improve the overall quality of life for individuals with Parkinson's disease. Playing table tennis challenges the body and mind simultaneously, improving eye-hand coordination, cognitive abilities, balance, speed, resilience, and mental strength, all while thinking tactically and mobilising a punch.
The event will feature players from different parts of the world, all united by their love for table tennis and their desire to improve their quality of life. These players are living proof that table tennis can be life-changing for individuals with Parkinson's disease.
Digna Lopez-Abarca from Chile is one of the players who experienced tremendous improvement in her Parkinson's symptoms after taking up table tennis. She said,
"Playing in the World Parkinson's Table Tennis Championships in Berlin was an extraordinary experience. Seeing how table tennis brought out everyone fighting's spirit and the huge camaraderie and mutual respect all competitors showed, made this an experience I will never forget."
Sunil Raghavan from Singapore echoed the sentiment and said,
"Table Tennis is magical - it's helping me slow down my Parkinson's and it's now helping several Singaporeans too."
He further appreciated the ITTF Foundation's support and sponsorship for events like the World Parkinson's Table Tennis Championship.
Elisabeth Ildal from Denmark emphasized that table tennis is good for Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases because it challenges the body and brain simultaneously, improving cognitive abilities, balance, speed, resilience, and mental strength. She also said that table tennis is fun, causes almost no injuries, and people get along with each other.
Miran Kondric, a doctor and the Chair of the ITTF Sports, Science & Medical Committee, explained that learning-based exercises could be neuroprotective in ageing individuals and those with neurodegenerative disease. He also emphasized that doing table tennis, changing the playing situation, tempo, speed, movement activity, or direction (random practice) will help create new brain connections between neurons to compensate for deficits elsewhere.
Guy Tusseau, a physiotherapist/osteopath, and the Chair of the FRA Sports and Health Committee (FFTT), explained how table tennis is ideal to help patients and their families in their everyday life. He emphasized that table tennis has an action on general fitness, the musculoskeletal system muscle, cognitive functions, and psychosocial interest.
In conclusion, the World Parkinson's Table Tennis Championships is an event that showcases the benefits of regular table tennis practice for individuals with Parkinson's disease. It is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits of regular physical activity like table tennis and its positive impact on cognitive and motor skills. We encourage people with Parkinson's disease to engage in physical activity and experience its benefits.
You have Parkinson's or know somebody with Parkinson's? Don't hesitate to register for the World Parkinson's Table Tennis Championships. No matter the level of play. Everybody can register and share the experience of this unique event.