Posted on May 18, 2023, 6 p.m.
Dr. Zoe Williams is a television presenter and medical expert with an exciting strategy for improving mental health which is playing ping pong. Dr. Williams is working to highlight the benefits that activities such as dart, ping pong, shuffleboard, and axe throwing can have on boosting the well-being of the players, emphasizing the value of social interaction and friendly competition in sporting games' positive influence on mental health.
“Life’s daily stresses – be it news, relationships, employment, or significant life changes – can heavily impact our mental well-being,” Dr. Williams says in a statement. “Hence, it’s crucial to incorporate activities that uplift our mood into our daily routines. Such activities enhance mental clarity and strengthen bonds with our fellow players. Winning or losing, the fun is always guaranteed,” she adds.
Dr. Williams recommends getting active, taking breaks from technology, creating meaningful connections, being kind to oneself, and getting into the competitive spirit to help improve your well-being.
According to a survey of 2,000 adults conducted by OnePoll which was commissioned by the ping pong organization Bounce, 56% of all respondents consider sports to be stress relieving, and 62% report that friendly competition helps them to relax. However, 53% of the participants report that they do not spend as much time in social groups as they would like to despite 72% of the respondents saying that they experience increased happiness from these engagements.
The results reveal that 4 in 10 of those who use sports or games to keep stress levels in check believe that focusing on a single task helps them to tune out other concerns, 34% say that the real fun is in the friendly rivalry and satisfaction of winning, and 40% enjoy the increased focus these games require.
62% of all respondents report that activities such as darts, mini golf, axe throwing, and ping pong make social engagements more enjoyable compared to typical drinking or dining events. The respondents report that they would like to socialize more but have reasons for not being able to, with 40% reporting that they are too busy, 36% reporting distance/location issues, and 33% reporting conflicting schedules.
When the respondents are not able to spend as much time with their friends/family as they’d like 32% report having feelings of loneliness, 29% experience feelings of disappointment, and 27% report increased feelings of sadness. But when they are able to hang out with friends/family 56% feel good about it, and 43% report feeling that sense of belonging when they are able to meet up with friends/family.
“Our research has gratifyingly shown that hitting a ball with friends is an excellent stress-reliever. Ping-pong, unlike solo sports, brings unique joy through the connection between players. The game’s enjoyment is physically linked to your opponent’s game. It’s amazing how players surprise themselves with their skills. Ping-pong is simple, fun, and makes you feel great – we all need to play more,” says Toby Harris, CEO of State of Play Hospitality, operator of Bounce.
“Connecting with friends and family over an active, fun game can be beneficial for both your physical and mental health. Learning the skills to play a new game can boost self-confidence and self-esteem. Being active, learning, and connecting with others are three of the ‘Five Steps to Mental Wellbeing,'” adds Helen Franks, corporate partnership manager from the Charlie Waller Trust.
It may be a confidence-building round of pickleball, a quick game of ping pong, a rousing game of darts, a satisfying game of bocce ball, or an engaging game of frisbee golf, but these types of physical activities can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels while boosting self-esteem and improving overall mental health.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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