Why is it important to exercise the brain?
The brain is just like any other muscle in our body. In order for it to perform at its best, we need to keep it in shape with exercise. Ping pong, as we have already covered in ‘How Ping Pong is a Brain Sport’, is a great way to exercise the brain and body at once.
But, again, why it is so important to exercise the brain? And why is ping pong one of your best ‘brain sport’ options?
The more you use your brain, the stronger it becomes - just like with strength training. As you continue to play ping pong, you keep pushing your brain to think faster and react quicker, which forces your brain to build more pathways to compensate. These new pathways mean that a larger portion of your brain is being activated.
A ‘bigger’ brain is a stronger brain, and stronger brains enable you to act and think at a higher level.
A stronger brain enables you to focus more. Plus, the more you play ping pong the more you are expanding your ability to focus and shift your attention quickly. Asides anticipating your opponent's next move, you are analysing the path the ball will take, calculating the angle and strength of your return, and constantly adjusting your stance.
All of this cognitive function improves how quickly your brain processes information and turns thoughts into action.
Ping pong is also a great sport for those with ADHD!
Ping pong offers a degree of aerobic exercise, especially during long or fast-paced matches, and this is fantastic for a very important part of your brain: the hippocampus.
The hippocampus is the part of your brain that is responsible for learning and memory retention. It is also the only part of the brain that continues to produce new brain cells throughout your adult life. Aerobic exercise stimulates increased growth and longevity of these cells, increasing your ability to store memories.
Exercise improves your mood. Ping pong in itself is a fun way to exercise, but the aerobic activity offers a mood boost in more ways than you might think.
Physical activity, aerobic activity, in particular, causes your brain to produce neurotransmitters. These are chemicals in your brain that regulate how it functions; they act as a kind of internal messenger between our body and brain - telling us how to think, feel, and act. Aerobic exercise causes our bodies to produce endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, transmitters that affect how we feel, move, eat, sleep, emote, and process stress and anxiety.
To put it simply, regular exercise is a pathway to happiness.
Improved reaction time and hand-eye coordination does more than help you move and act better, it flexes your cerebellum and the primary motor cortex - the parts of the brain responsible for controlling movement. The more you use these parts of the brain, the stronger they become, thus improving your overall fine motor control. Or, as the saying goes, practice makes perfect.
Ping pong is a great way to exercise the body and mind. These are five ways ping pong is good for your brain, and in our opinion, that’s five more reasons to join the TinyPong crew!