(by Steve Hopkins)
World Parkinson’s Day is next Sunday, April 11. The intent of naming a day each year is to raise awareness for Parkinson’s Disease, a disease which reduces the number of nerve cells that deliver dopamine to other cells. Those who have this disease suffer from visible motor symptom issues, as well as a variety of other issues that can affect sleep and vision and smell. The symbol of Parkinson’s Disease is a Red Tulip. One resource for Parkinson’s Disease is found at parkinsonsdisease.net.
There have been a number of studies identifying potential benefits of table tennis for those with Parkinson’s. One study from Fukuoka University suggested that table tennis could be used as a form of physical therapy – with preliminary data showing symptoms had lessened in some who had participated weekly in the sport for six months. The Fukuoka study backs supports the findings of other groups, such as the Ping Pong Parkinson group in New York which has been utilizing table tennis as a form of physical therapy since 2017 and the Lower Shore Table Tennis Club‘s program called Lower Shore Parkinson’s Support Group back in 2010.
As noted by Art Cooley of the Lower Shore Parkinson’s Support Group, table tennis is a good exercise program. Table tennis “makes you move so many parts of your body, uses a lot of the muscles in your body, it helps your reflexes, it improves your hand-eye coordination, it will even help your brain because you have to think about strategy and you have to try and read the speed and spin coming off your opponent’s ball, and if your having a competitive match you can have an aerobic workout as well”.
Check out this interview with Art Cooley below. *The Lower Shore Table Tennis Club is located in Fruitland, Maryland.