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Trend: Playing table tennis to enhance brain fitness and mental health


Busi­ness­man turned love of ping­pong into char­i­ty (Vir­ginia Beach Bea­con):

The elder Lees, now 76, still plays and heads up a table ten­nis club on the East­ern Shore…Ken Lees said it was local neu­rol­o­gist Dr. Scott Saut­ter who helped him real­ize the ther­a­peu­tic ben­e­fits of ping­pong on brain fit­ness and men­tal health…

It’s like aer­o­bic chess,” he said. In addi­tion to help­ing eye-hand coor­di­na­tion, and the use of reflex­es, bal­ance, plan­ning and strat­e­gy, Lees point­ed out the game’s a stress reliev­er, too.

Lees found­ed the non­prof­it Table Ten­nis Char­i­ty Foun­da­tion in 2012 to cre­ate aware­ness about the game’s ben­e­fits, plus raise mon­ey for orga­ni­za­tions that ben­e­fit peo­ple with Alzheimer’s dis­ease, demen­tia, depres­sion, and mild to mod­er­ate intel­lec­tu­al chal­lenges. More than $250,000 has been raised to date…programs have been imple­ment­ed at Atlantic Shores retire­ment com­mu­ni­ty and West­min­ster Can­ter­bury, as well as Lynnhaven Mid­dle School and Ocean Lakes High School.

Ping­pong is “a great exer­cise for the mind and body,” Lees said. The goal, he said, is to “cross-train your brain.”

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