Health & Wellness

Ping-Pong for Parkinson’s Patients

Playing ping-pong may help with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

By Wendy Haaf


A regular regimen of Ping-Pong could be just what the doctor ordered for improving symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD), Japanese researchers report.

In a preliminary study presented to the American Academy of Neurology, 12 people with mild to moderate PD (average age: 73) were tested to determine the types and severity of their symptoms. Then, for six months, subjects participated in weekly five-hour sessions that included preliminary stretches and table-tennis exercises developed by experienced players.

At three- and six-month evaluations, participants showed sizable improvements in a range of abilities, such as handwriting, speech, getting out of bed, and walking. Additionally, the severity of symptoms such as rigid muscles, slowed movement, and hand tremors lessened significantly.

“While this study is small, the results are encouraging because they show ping-pong, a relatively inexpensive form of therapy, may improve some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease,” said study author Dr. Ken-ichi Inoue of Fukuoka University in Fukuoka, Japan. “A much larger study is now being planned to confirm these findings.”

Photo: iStock/MiraPen.