Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia are a common experience for many entering their retirement years. The effects can be devastating for individuals and their family members. While much research is yet to be done, it’s well known that keeping an active brain is key to combatting this difficult disease. Playing sports like tennis and table tennis is a great way to keep your brain active.
Table Tennis and the Brain
While medication remains the most common method of reducing and controlling the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, some individuals suffer side effects. Table tennis serves as a non-medicine alternative or supplement to prescribed medication. It’s a low-impact sport enjoyed by people of all ages and ability levels, and it’s great for the brain.
Researchers from the BAT Foundation (Bounce Alzheimer’s Therapy) are monitoring the effects table tennis has on individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s. MRI scans conducted by the foundation demonstrate that table tennis may improve long-term memory for those who have the disease and help decrease cognitive decline. Their results indicate that playing table tennis regularly can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by as much as five years.
The hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for creating new memories. It’s among the only brain structures that keep making new brain cells throughout life. This portion of the brain is smaller in individuals who have Alzheimer’s. Activities like table tennis stimulate the hippocampus and cause it to grow.
Because table tennis is an aerobic activity, it also stimulates brain cell growth and strengthens brain cells. It increases attention and focus. Those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s experience functional improvements in the frontal lobes of the brain while playing table tennis. The frontal lobes are central to problem-solving, decision making, and movement.
Boosting Your Brainpower Playing Tennis
Tennis is another sport known to improve mental health. It’s great for your memory and learning. Even just playing recreationally requires tactical thinking, creativity, coordination, and agility. Playing tennis is great for keeping your brain active. This stimulates new connections between nerves and encourages continuous brain development.
Staying Fit Physically and Mentally
Sports like table tennis and tennis are effective brain and body boosters. They keep your brain and body active which promotes better physical and mental health throughout life. While table tennis has been demonstrated specifically to combat Alzheimer’s and dementia, both sports are ideal for an active, healthy brain. Start playing today.
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