Spine Specialist Team: Agility & speed are necessary for athletes and individuals who actively engage in physical activity and sports. These individuals often depend on these abilities to increase their overall performance. Quickly and gracefully, both mental and physical skills are often a key element towards overcoming challenges related to the individual’s specific sport. The key to improving agility is to minimize the loss of speed when redirecting the body’s center of gravity.
Rapid change drills that change direction forward, backward, vertically, and laterally will help improve individuals by training your body to make these changes more quickly. Dr. Alex Jimenez describes various stretches and exercises utilized to enhance agility and speed throughout his collection of articles, focusing largely on the benefits of fitness and occasional injuries or conditions resulting from overexertion.
Individuals trying to get and stay in shape can find it difficult to get a regular workout. Can jumping rope help when there is no time?
Jumping rope can be a highly cost-effective exercise to incorporate high-intensity cardiovascular fitness into a workout routine. It is inexpensive, efficient, and done properly can improve cardiovascular health, improve balance and agility, increase muscular strength and endurance, and burn calories. (Athos Trecroci, et al., 2015)
Jumping rope can be utilized in interval training to keep the heart rate elevated and allow the muscles to rest in between weight lifting and other intense exercises.
A jump rope can be used when traveling as its portability makes it a top piece of workout gear.
It can be combined with bodyweight exercises for a dependable and portable exercise routine.
Jumping rope is a medium-impact exercise with benefits that include:
Improves balance, agility, and coordination
Builds stamina and foot speed for coordination, agility, and quick reflexes.
Variations include one-leg jumping and double unders or with each jump, the rope goes around twice to add difficulty.
Builds Fitness Fast
Depending on skill level and jumping rate, individuals can burn 10 to 15 calories a minute by jumping rope.
Faster rope jumping can burn calories similar to running.
For individuals who have high blood pressure, jumping rope may not be recommended. The downward arm position can reduce blood circulation back to the heart which can further increase blood pressure. Studies have shown that jumping at a moderate intensity is beneficial for individuals who are pre-hypertensive. (Lisa Baumgartner, et al., 2020) Individuals with hypertension and/or a heart condition, are recommended to discuss the potential risks with their doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
Choosing a Rope
Jump ropes are available and made from various materials and come with different handles.
Both feet slightly lift off from the ground and land together.
Alternate foot jump
This uses a skipping step.
This allows landing more prominently on one foot after each spin.
A slight jog is incorporated while jumping.
A moderate pace with a high knee raise increases intensity.
Rope jumping is a great addition to an interval training or cross-training routine that creates an efficient whole-body workout that incorporates both cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength.
Overcoming ACL Injury
Trecroci, A., Cavaggioni, L., Caccia, R., & Alberti, G. (2015). Jump Rope Training: Balance and Motor Coordination in Preadolescent Soccer Players. Journal of sports science & medicine, 14(4), 792–798.
Baumgartner, L., Weberruß, H., Oberhoffer-Fritz, R., & Schulz, T. (2020). Vascular Structure and Function in Children and Adolescents: What Impact Do Physical Activity, Health-Related Physical Fitness, and Exercise Have?. Frontiers in pediatrics, 8, 103. doi.org/10.3389/fped.2020.00103
Ozer, D., Duzgun, I., Baltaci, G., Karacan, S., & Colakoglu, F. (2011). The effects of rope or weighted rope jump training on strength, coordination and proprioception in adolescent female volleyball players. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 51(2), 211–219.
Van Hooren, B., & Peake, J. M. (2018). Do We Need a Cool-Down After Exercise? A Narrative Review of the Psychophysiological Effects and the Effects on Performance, Injuries and the Long-Term Adaptive Response. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 48(7), 1575–1595. doi.org/10.1007/s40279-018-0916-2
Can adding calisthenics resistance training to a fitness routine provide health benefits like flexibility, balance, and coordination?
Calisthenics Resistance Training
Calisthenics resistance training requires no equipment, they can be done with minimal space, and are a great way to get a quick burn.
They are a form of resistance training using your own body weight that is low-impact, which makes it accessible to individuals of all ages and fitness levels.
They effectively help build agility, and cardiovascular health, and improve balance, coordination, and flexibility.
Because calisthenics are easily adaptable to any fitness level, require minimal or no equipment, and are great for beginners and experienced exercise enthusiasts it is a fantastic full-body workout and an excellent way to build strength and muscle. Research supports that calisthenics resistance training can improve muscle strength in various ways.
One study found that eight weeks of calisthenics not only improved posture and body mass index/BMI but can impact strength, even with exercises not routinely performed. (Thomas E, et al., 2017)
During the study, one group did calisthenics and the other maintained regular training routines.
The researchers discovered that the group that did calisthenics increased their repetitions of exercises that were not included.
The group who continued with their regular training routines did not improve on what they could do before the eight-week study. (Thomas E, et al., 2017)
Regular participation in calisthenic resistance training can lead to improved cardiovascular health, including increased endurance and a healthier heart.
Certain calisthenic exercises, like burpees and mountain climbers, are high-intensity movements that can increase heart rate and blood circulation just from the movements.
Examples of core exercises include planks, sit-ups, and leg raises.
Single-leg exercises focus on training one leg at a time.
These target the muscles of the legs, hips, and core.
Examples of single-leg exercises include single-leg squats, lunges, and step-ups.
Calisthenics resistance training focuses on powerful explosive movements.
Plyometric exercises challenge the muscles to work quickly and forcefully.
Examples include jump squats, clap push-ups, and box jumps.
Start by making sure calisthenics is an appropriate workout option, especially if you are a beginner or have pre-existing medical conditions.
Once cleared to exercise start with familiar movements that can be done with the correct form.
Pushups, bodyweight squats, planks, lunges, and other basic movements are a good place to start.
Make sure to warm up with light and easy motions that mimic the workout movements.
Aim to work each body part during the workout.
Try for at least two workouts a week.
It is recommended to split the movement patterns.
Reps can be counted or set a timer to switch exercises every minute. This is called EMOM-style or every minute on the minute.
Pick four to five exercises that target various areas.
For example, sit-ups can be done for the core, lunges for the glutes and thighs, planks can be done for the shoulders and core, and jumping jacks or jumping rope for cardiovascular.
Calisthenic resistance training is easily modifiable and can be adjusted to individual needs.
Thomas, E., Bianco, A., Mancuso, E. P., Patti, A., Tabacchi, G., Paoli, A., … & Palma, A. (2017). The effects of a calisthenics training intervention on posture, strength, and body composition. Isokinetics and exercise science, 25(3), 215-222.
Bellissimo, G. F., Ducharme, J., Mang, Z., Millender, D., Smith, J., Stork, M. J., Little, J. P., Deyhle, M. R., Gibson, A. L., de Castro Magalhaes, F., & Amorim, F. (2022). The Acute Physiological and Perceptual Responses Between Bodyweight and Treadmill Running High-Intensity Interval Exercises. Frontiers in physiology, 13, 824154. doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2022.824154
Osuka, Y., Kojima, N., Sasai, H., Ohara, Y., Watanabe, Y., Hirano, H., & Kim, H. (2020). Exercise Types and the Risk of Developing Cognitive Decline in Older Women: A Prospective Study. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease: JAD, 77(4), 1733–1742. doi.org/10.3233/JAD-200867
Taspinar, O., Aydın, T., Celebi, A., Keskin, Y., Yavuz, S., Guneser, M., Camli, A., Tosun, M., Canbaz, N., & Gok, M. (2015). Psychological effects of calisthenic exercises on neuroinflammatory and rheumatic diseases. Zeitschrift fur Rheumatologie, 74(8), 722–727. doi.org/10.1007/s00393-015-1570-9
Lavie, C. J., Lee, D. C., Sui, X., Arena, R., O’Keefe, J. H., Church, T. S., Milani, R. V., & Blair, S. N. (2015). Effects of Running on Chronic Diseases and Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 90(11), 1541–1552. doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2015.08.001
Range of motion – ROM measures the movement around a joint or body part. When stretching or moving certain body parts, like a muscle or joint, the range of motion is how far it can move. Individuals with a limited range of motion cannot move a specific body part or joint through its normal range. Measurements are different for everybody, but there are ranges that individuals should be able to achieve for proper function. The Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Team can address issues/problems with ROM through a personalized treatment plan to alleviate symptoms and restore mobility and flexibility.
Improve Range of Motion
Over 250 joints in the body move from extension to flexion and are responsible for all of the body’s movements. These include the ankles, hips, elbows, knees, and shoulders. Tightness in the hips and ankles can decrease ROM when lifting an object, limiting the muscles’ ability. Form and strength potential becomes limited and suffers from an inadequate ROM. When form and posture are compromised, pain and injuries can result. There are many reasons why this can occur, including:
Tight and stiff muscles.
Trying to use these muscles can worsen the condition, limiting ROM further.
A limited ROM in the back, neck, or shoulders may be due to the body being out of natural alignment.
Repetitive motions, injuries, and everyday wear and tear can shift proper alignment and limit movement.
Conditions like arthritis, brain, nerve, and/or muscle disorders.
A mild to moderate range reduction may be caused by a sedentary lifestyle or insufficient physical activity.
Decreased range of motion and poor mobility can hinder the body from lifting objects, job occupation performance, and household tasks. A healthy physical ability is what determines independent aging and optimal function.
Restoring a healthy range of motion can improve physical performance during work, home, and sports activities.
An improved range of motion allows the affected muscles to work at longer lengths, build strength and relieve tension.
A stronger muscle capable of contracting efficiently through larger ranges prevents and decreases the risk of injury.
Chiropractic care can realign the body and improve range of motion to optimal levels.
Therapeutic and Percussive Massage
Massage therapy will release the tightness, keep the muscles loose, and increase circulation.
This prepares the body for chiropractic adjustments and spinal decompression.
Decompression and Adjustments
Non-surgical mechanical decompression realigns the body to a pliable state.
Chiropractic adjustments will reset any misalignments, restoring flexibility and mobility.
A chiropractor will provide physical therapy-type exercises and stretches to mobilize the joints.
Targeted exercises and stretches will help to maintain the adjustments and strengthen the body to prevent ROM worsening and future injuries.
Secrets of Optimal Wellness
Behm, David G et al. “Acute effects of muscle stretching on physical performance, range of motion, and injury incidence in healthy active individuals: a systematic review.” Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism = Physiologie appliquee, nutrition et metabolisme vol. 41,1 (2016): 1-11. doi:10.1139/apnm-2015-0235
Calixtre, L B et al. “Manual therapy for the management of pain and limited range of motion in subjects with signs and symptoms of temporomandibular disorder: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.” Journal of oral rehabilitation vol. 42,11 (2015): 847-61. doi:10.1111/joor.12321
Fishman, Loren M. “Yoga and Bone Health.” Orthopedic nursing vol. 40,3 (2021): 169-179. doi:10.1097/NOR.0000000000000757
Lea, R D, and J J Gerhardt. “Range-of-motion measurements.” The Journal of Bone and joint surgery. American Volume vol. 77,5 (1995): 784-98. doi:10.2106/00004623-199505000-00017
Thomas, Ewan, et al. “The Relation Between Stretching Typology and Stretching Duration: The Effects on Range of Motion.” International Journal of sports medicine vol. 39,4 (2018): 243-254. doi:10.1055/s-0044-101146
The body’s core muscles are used for stability, balance, lifting, pushing, pulling, and movement. Engaging the core muscles means bracing and tightening the abdominal muscles, which include the latissimus dorsi/lats, paraspinal muscles, gluteus maximus/glutes, and trapezius/traps. When engaged, the trunk muscles help maintain spinal stability, support the spine and pelvis in sitting and resting positions and during dynamic movements, and help prevent injury.
Engaging The Core
To know how to engage the core, individuals need to understand what the core is. The most important muscles for engaging the core include: These muscles are involved every time the body inhales and exhales, in posture control, and when using the bathroom, they start and stop the process.
The rectus abdominis muscle is responsible for the six-pack.
It’s a long, flat muscle that extends from the pubic bone to the sixth and seventh ribs.
The rectus abdominis is primarily responsible for bending the spine.
These are the muscles on either side of the rectus abdominis.
The external obliques allow the torso to twist, bend sideways, flex the spine, and compress the abdomen.
The internal obliques lie below the external obliques.
They work with the external obliques in the same functions.
This is the deepest layer of muscle in the abdomen.
It completely wraps around the torso and extends from the ribs to the pelvis.
The transverse abdominis are not responsible for spine or hip movement but for stabilizing the spine, compressing the organs, and supporting the abdominal wall.
Commonly known as the lats, these muscles run along both sides of the spine from just below the shoulder blades to the pelvis.
The lats help stabilize the back, especially when extending the shoulders.
They also contribute to body ability when twisting from side to side.
The erector spinae muscles are on each side of the spine and extend down the back.
These muscles are responsible for extending and rotating the back and side-to-side movement.
These are considered postural muscles and are almost always working.
What Not To Do
Individuals learn from mistakes, which might make learning how to engage the core easier by understanding what not to do. Common examples of failing to or not engaging the core correctly.
The back slumps when sitting down – the upper body lacks strength and stability.
When bending, the stomach sticks out more.
Swaying or leaning far to one side when walking – lack of lower body strength causes balance and stability problems.
The lower abdomen and back present with discomfort and pain symptoms.
Engaging the core decreases the chance of sustaining an injury at home, work, or exercising and can help with chronic back pain. It creates a stable musculature around the spine that keeps the vertebrae from over-flexing, over-extending, and bending too far to one side. Engaging the core muscles can mean different things, depending on what is trying to be achieved.
For example, if doing bending work, the muscles needed, and the order in which they contract differs from when trying to maintain balance while standing on one leg.
The muscles engaged will differ in their movement depending on whether an individual is:
Trying to move the spine or stabilize it.
Pushing or pulling weight.
Standing, sitting, or lying down.
For a strong and functional core, the objective is to be able to engage the core in any situation. Engaging the core can be challenging, but with training and practice, the body becomes stronger. Practice engaging the core throughout daily activities that include.
Bracing the core while standing, sitting at a workstation or desk, and walking.
Day-to-day activities, like reaching for something from a high shelf, grocery shopping, and taking the stairs.
Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic can create a personalized program to address musculoskeletal issues, core training, targeted exercise, stretching, nutrition, massage, and adjustments to get the body to optimal health and maintain health.
The Non-Surgical Solution
Eickmeyer, Sarah M. “Anatomy and Physiology of the Pelvic Floor.” Physical Medicine and rehabilitation clinics of North America vol. 28,3 (2017): 455-460. doi:10.1016/j.pmr.2017.03.003
Lawson, Samantha, and Ashley Sacks. “Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy and Women’s Health Promotion.” Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health vol. 63,4 (2018): 410-417. doi:10.1111/jmwh.12736
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Vining, Robert, et al. “Effects of Chiropractic Care on Strength, Balance, and Endurance in Active-Duty U.S. Military Personnel with Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of Alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) vol. 26,7 (2020): 592-601. doi:10.1089/acm.2020.0107
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Mountain and trail biking is a fun way to exercise. Mountain biking requires total body/core strength, explosive power, balance, endurance, and agility to maneuver the bike, build speed, and absorb the rough bumps and terrain. But it also means that certain muscles get overused, causing overcompensation in the body that can lead to musculoskeletal problems and conditions. Strength, cardiovascular, and cross-fit can benefit mountain biking training for improved performance, safer and more confident riding, and injury prevention.
Mountain Biking Training
A few of the benefits of training are:
Increasing bone density.
Improving joint health.
Correcting imbalances and unhealthy posture.
Aging muscle loss prevention.
Maintaining body posture centered on the bike requires core strength to perform the movements when moving the body backward and forwards, side to side, and pushing up and down when different obstacles pop up. The exercises’ objective is to work various body parts simultaneously and diagonally, like the movements used on the bike.
General Overview of Mountain Biking Training
Build strength – Target the quads, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles to power pedaling strokes.
Increase endurance – Avoid getting fatigued early because of weakened legs and aerobic performance.
Improve mountain bike skills – Ride faster and more efficiently by improving bike handling and technical skills.
Example Training Week
The terrain determines the intensity, but the same basic principles apply to mountain biking training as other endurance sports. Here’s a training example for a beginner that can be adjusted to the rider’s needs:
Stretching and training the muscles to relax prevent becoming stiff or cramping up during rides.
Cornering is a critical skill that should never stop being practiced and improved.
Pick a corner on a local trail and ride through it until mastered.
Focus on riding smoothly through the corner, and speed will generate.
As confidence builds in the corners, do the same on the opposite side.
Ride to the furthest outside edge when approaching the turn.
Initiate the turn just before the sharpest point of the corner.
Stick to the furthest outside point of the corner when riding out of the corner.
Brake Before The Corner
Braking in the corner can cause the tires to slide out of control, causing a slip-and-fall accident.
Look through the turn as the bike follows where the eyes look.
Don’t stare at the front wheel, which could lead to a falling or flipping accident.
Eventually, riders can handle this technique, but it’s too advanced for beginners.
Beginners can be amazed at how much terrain bikes can ride over and through. Modern mountain bike suspension and tire systems can handle it. However, using the correct technique is essential to get through or around the obstacles and avoid crashes.
Stay aware of the surroundings.
Keep the body loose when approaching obstacles.
Decide how to overcome the obstacle – ride over, pop/raise the wheels, jump, or ride around.
When riding over the obstacle, maintain an even balance on the pedals and keep the buttocks slightly off the saddle.
Keep arms and legs loose and let the body absorb the shock of the obstacle.
Trust the suspension and tires.
Ensure enough speed is generated to go over it and that it won’t stop the bike and cause a fall.
Some rough trail areas can require added strength to hold the bike steady.
There is no need to squeeze the brake handles with extreme force.
Extreme braking, especially the front, will likely lead to a flip or crash.
The brakes are made to stop with minimal force.
Beginners are recommended to learn to use a light touch when braking.
Improvement will follow with each riding session.
Arriel, Rhaí André, et al. “Current Perspectives of Cross-Country Mountain Biking: Physiological and Mechanical Aspects, Evolution of Bikes, Accidents, and Injuries.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 19,19 12552. 1 Oct. 2022, doi:10.3390/ijerph191912552
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Field hockey is one of the world’s oldest team sports, dating back to the classical Greek era. It also is recognized as one of the oldest college sports in America. It is a game where teams composed of 11 players, including one goalkeeper, come together on a field and use hockey sticks to drive a ball into a net to score points. The winner is determined by whoever has the most points at the end of the game. The sport requires high aerobic and anaerobic fitness to provide endurance, strength to position, trap, pass, and hit the ball, push and flick the ball, and acceleration/speed and agility. Here we look at the basic fitness components and chiropractic care benefits.
Field hockey players need to have high levels of endurance to perform. The game consists of 2 35 – minute halves, with a 10-minute break, plus stoppages. This consistent use of energy and muscular strength requires the cardiovascular system to supply oxygen through the blood.
Field hockey fitness is about perfecting moves to become an automatic reaction.
After putting their body through intense training, players can benefit from sports massage and chiropractic. Benefits include:
Increased Range of Motion
The sport requires a wide range of motion. A misaligned area like the spine and hips causes weakness in the muscles and tendons near the joints causing the player to take on awkward positioning that can lead to various neuromusculoskeletal issues and injuries. Chiropractic reset and realignment maintain body flexibility, muscle relaxation, optimal circulation and strengthen the areas causing weakness.
Enhanced Balance and Coordination
Balance and coordination are critical as the players sprint, shift, twist, and turn. The eyes and ears are the main balance components, but the nervous system plays a role. Chiropractic spinal alignment increases the nervous system’s function of sending signals to the rest of the body.
Speeds up Recovery From Injury
Chiropractic helps heal injury quicker because fluids and nutrients released after an adjustment will move toward the damage expediting healing. Chiropractic breaks up scar tissue and trigger points to rebuild that strength and stamina without the risk of worsening or further injury.
Chiropractic care will improve how the central nervous system communicates with the rest of the body.
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Krzykała, M et al. “Does field hockey increase morphofunctional asymmetry? A pilot study.” Homo : internationale Zeitschrift fur die vergleichende Forschung am Menschen vol. 69,1-2 (2018): 43-49. doi:10.1016/j.jchb.2018.03.003
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Table tennis is a sport that individuals of all ages and abilities can play. The small scale and reduced movement make it more accessible. It has become more physical, with professional players making fitness an important part of their training. However, at all levels, it offers moderate-intensity activity, which is good for the heart, mind, and body. Recreational table tennis has been found to increase concentration, stimulate brain function, help develop tactical thinking skills and hand-eye coordination, and provide aerobic exercise and social interaction.
The setup and rules are similar to tennis and can be played solo or in doubles. The skills needed to develop are learning to hit and control the ball consistently. Table tennis can be complex, with various shots, spins, and styles, but the foundational skills required include:
Although the body does not move that far, footwork is essential with the quick movements that are made in a short period.
Basic footwork techniques include fast dynamic movement, balance, and weight distribution.
Basic serving is necessary to get the point going.
Different stroke styles can be used, but forehand and backhand strokes are the most common.
Learning how the body activates and responds to the swing, the point of contact and the follow-through of each stroke is essential to get the most out of each stroke.
Speed and Agility
Table tennis is a fast-twitch muscle sport that utilizes quick bursts of energy and explosive strength.
Coaches and players use a combination of hybrid, high-intensity, and functional training to condition the body.
High-intensity interval training incorporates explosive movements, like squat jumps, to activate the muscles and the anaerobic threshold.
Playing improves hand-eye coordination skills and stimulates mental alertness and concentration.
This is great for sharpening overall reflexes.
Table tennis offers several health benefits that include:
It is a social sport that provides a fun way to spend time with family and friends.
The overall risk for injury is low.
Easy on the muscles and joints.
Keeps the brain sharp.
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