As cognitive trainers, we are always trying to think of new ways to create challenges, improve skills and create the stress that helps us to build and strengthen our mental abilities.
While so much of our work is computer based, it occurred to me that one of the best tools for improving mental skills might just be folded up in my basement! I even suggested to several Headmasters at schools we work with that perhaps ping pong might be the ultimate tool for improving processing speed and response time. Think about it, a game that involves constant changes in direction and speed, split second decision making, and lightening quick reflexes. This is great conditioning for both our minds and our bodies. In each case, I asked the Headmasters if they had ping pong tables. They told me that, “Yes, I think we have one but it’s folded up somewhere!”
I think it’s time to get the ping pong tables out and dust them off.
As it turns out, there is a growing body of research that supports the benefits of ping pong. It is being touted as a therapy for everything from Alzheimer’s to Autism to ADHD.
Wendy Suzuki, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience and psychology at New York University has a lot to say about the benefits of ping pong in the article below.
Neuroscientist Daniel Amen, noted author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life and Making a Good Brain Great and founder of the Amen Clinics is a strong supporter of the therapeutic benefits of ping pong. He writes in his blog below:
For us, improved processing speed and agility are stepping stones on the way to improved working memory and overall cognition. Cognition is the mental process of gaining knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses. We know from experience that faster processing is a part of improved working memory. So, grab your ping pong paddle, get a great workout and then do your Cogmed Working Memory Training!
Ted Backes, Director of Cognitive Training