Cross-train your brain with Beverly Kidd

Posted at 2:09 PM, Nov 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-20 19:01:10-05

Who can forget the Olympic sized ping pong matchup in the movie Forrest Gump?

While Forrest was mentally slow, research done right here in Hampton roads shows that is not the case for most ping pong players, in fact quite the opposite.

You`re actually engaging the brain in terms of prefrontal cortex for strategy, to return plays, eye- hand coordination, balance. All this translates into the cerebellum, prefrontal cortex, temporal lobe, parietal lobes its exercising the brain,” says dr. Scott Sautter, a Neuropsychologist

Sautter conducted a study with EVMS, ODU and university of North Carolina this summer and the findings were released last month.

The participants, ages 72-96 are residents at Westminster Canterbury retirement home in Virginia Beach.

“When you actually engage the brain, in doing activities like this, it’s called neuroplasticity. You are actually making new connections in the brain that allow you to essentially translate those skills, to other activities,” says Dr. Sautter.

Ken Lees is the founder of table tennis charities. He`s teamed up with Dr. Sautter and others to spread the word about the brain benefits of ping pong.

He`s helping students at Kellam High School in Virginia beach start a ping pong club, and these kids are ready to compete.

Not everybody is cut out for the high profile sports in a typical school, ping-pong is for everyone and anyone, regardless of their skill level or age, so now it offers a new activity and it brings miles of smiles.