Everyone knows that regular exercise is good for physical health, but it’s also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health.
Getting active can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety and more. It can relieve stress, improve memory, help you sleep better and make you feel more relaxed and positive about yourself and your life. The good news is, this isn’t dependent on hard exercise, even 10 minutes of moderate activity can make a difference.
Why Table Tennis?
Table tennis in particular is a fantastic pathway for getting active and lifting the spirits. It can be played by anyone, of any age and with any physical limitations. It’s sociable and simply everyone, even those who have never played before, can pick up a bat and have an enjoyable experience. Not only that, it’s been proven that learning this new skill (or remembering a long forgotten one) can have a positive impact on those with memory loss problems and dementia. This could be due to an increase in the thickness of their cortex – the part of the brain associated with complex thinking and the part which shrinks most as we age *Stay young – with help from table tennis!
Case study: Live at Home Leeds
South Leeds Live at Home tackles isolation and promotes independence and wellbeing, by tailoring its activities to suit its members. They’ve recently been running some ‘Bat and Chat’ table tennis sessions. Nicki from the scheme told us:
Mr S is a member here at our scheme who has lost his wife and found himself quite lonely. He has starting visiting the scheme more frequently and has also got involved in a few of our other projects too. He has come to every Bat and Chat session we have had and thoroughly enjoyed it every week. It has brought back many memories of when he was in his 20’s as he used to play Table Tennis every day on his dinner break at work.
Although he hadn’t played in so long he was surprised how quickly he got the hang of it and for the first few weeks he was undefeated. After a few weeks another member managed to beat him with a score of 15-13 which was a great laugh to watch. He is always the first person here and really looks forward to it each week. He has no family that live close by but has really found it good to socialise with new people and have the same interest to talk about. Mr S visits his sister every week as she is in a care home a few hours’ drive away.
Previously we had got the impression that she wasn’t doing too well. On our first Bat and Chat session we had another member come along which happened to work with Mr S sister and her husband in a Factory many years ago. They also played Table Tennis on their lunch break which was great news for Mr S to talk about on his visits to see his sister. He told us that he stayed a lot longer than normal on his visit as they had so much to talk about. He has also told his sister that he is no longer the undefeated champion so it seems to have lifted not only his spirits but also his sisters. Last week he had found some of his old bats and balls too which he has kindly brought in for anyone to use.
Overall I think the Bat and Chat has really benefited Mr S and he will carry on coming to every session. He’s keen to get involved and also keeps track of the score for me if I need him to.
For more information about Bat and Chat, please email us