Can Overweight People Play Table Tennis?

If you’ve ever watched table tennis champions playing this riveting sport, you likely noticed how fit the different competitors are. After all, table tennis can be a rather physically demanding sport at higher levels of competition. Due to this, many overweight people have wondered whether they can play table tennis.

You can play tennis even if you’re overweight. Ultimately, table tennis depends on players knowing how to play to their strengths. Although being overweight won’t affect someone playing table tennis, it will provide them with many health benefits guaranteed to improve their energy and mood.

If you’re overweight and you’ve been questioning whether table tennis is the right activity for you, we’ll explain everything you should know! Once we’ve discussed why overweight people are encouraged to play table tennis, we’ll look at the health benefits of this sport, tips to get you started, and what we can learn from the professionals.

Can Overweight People Play Table Tennis?

The Department of Health and Human Services in the United States has stated that healthy adults should have at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week. Furthermore, the department also recommends that overweight people focus on aerobic activities that put minimal stress on their joints.

While walking and swimming are great ways of clocking your 150 weekly minutes of aerobic exercise, there’s more fun and engaging alternative: table tennis. However, there’s a common misconception that overweight people cannot play table tennis due to the physically demanding nature of the sport. However, this is simply not true; overweight people can excel at table tennis!

It may surprise some people that table tennis has many health benefits. Not only can table tennis help you effectively burn calories, but it places minimal stress on your joints. Ultimately, these benefits make it the perfect aerobic exercise to implement into your lifestyle. In the following section, we’ll discuss the health benefits of playing table tennis in more detail!

How Playing Table Tennis Impacts Your Health

Now that we’ve discussed that overweight people can play and excel at table tennis, you might wonder how this sport positively impacts your health. The number of positive effects table tennis has may even surprise some readers. Let’s explore eight of the top advantages playing table tennis can have on your overall fitness levels and health!

Playing Table Tennis Helps You Burns Calories

One of the best impacts table tennis has on your health is that it helps you safely burn calories with a fun, engaging activity. A person weighing 150-pounds could burn up to 270 calories by playing table tennis for an hour. Of course, this doesn’t account for the addictive nature of this sport!

For effective weight loss, health experts recommend aerobic exercises. Table tennis is a fantastic aerobic exercise, which is why it’s such an effective tool for losing weight. Compared to other aerobic exercises – such as walking, running, and swimming – table tennis is a more exciting activity, which helps people stick with it!

Playing Table Tennis Is Easy On Your Joints

Health professionals recommend that overweight individuals focus on exercises and activities that put minimal stress on their joints. Luckily, playing table tennis is easy on your joints, making it the ideal pastime!

Playing this sport is a great way of improving your leg, arm, are core strength without overworking your joints. If you’re overweight and suffer from knee or back issues, table tennis is ideal for getting and staying fit. This sport is also great for those who want to avoid twisting or overtaxing their ankles.

Playing Table Tennis Positively Impacts Energy And Mood

Did you know that playing table tennis can improve your energy and mood? Whenever you play table tennis, endorphins will be released in your brain. For those who don’t know, this chemical is responsible for making us feel happy and relaxed while also releasing anxiety and pressure. Experts say that playing table tennis just three times a week can increase your physical strength by up to 20%.

In addition to increasing your physical strength, playing table tennis can also reduce your fatigue by up to 65%. The benefits don’t stop there, though! It’s also been proven that playing table tennis can help you sleep better at night. A study by the National Sleep Foundation reported that approximately 67% of individuals who play table tennis have a higher sleep quality at night.

Playing Table Tennis Improves Your Reflexes

Despite the short-distance nature of table tennis, it remains a fast-paced sport. Due to this, playing table tennis can improve your fine and gross muscle movements. Due to how table tennis is played, the sport is characterized by bursts of exertion followed by recovery. Ultimately, this is the reason playing table tennis can greatly improve your reflexes.

Playing Table Tennis Develops Coordination And Balance

Playing table tennis stimulates mental alertness due to the concentration and strategizing required. Ultimately, this allows table tennis to develop your hand-eye coordination and improve your overall balance. These factors allow young players to improve these aspects while allowing older players to refine these aspects.

By following the table tennis ball as it moves and its trajectory, you’ll be actively improving your hand-eye coordination. Furthermore, staying balanced and quickly changing directions is key to success in table tennis, which helps improve your balance in the long run.

Playing Table Tennis Keeps Your Brain Sharp

In a report from Alzheimer’s Weekly, it was stated that playing table tennis has a positive effect on your motor skills and cognitive awareness. This is based on clinical studies completed in Japan, where it was found that table tennis increases the flow of blood to the player’s brain, which keeps them sharp and can prevent memory-related illnesses.

One of the main reasons table tennis can keep you sharp is that it stimulates multiple parts of the brain. While aerobic exercise stimulates the hippocampus in the brain, anticipating your opponent’s moves stimulates the prefrontal cortex. Due to these factors, playing table tennis can even improve your performance while working!

Playing Table Tennis Can Be A Social Outlet

Table tennis is a great way to bond with others while losing weight, regardless of where you play table tennis. You could play at home with family or at a community center with friends! In fact, playing with friends and family members gives you a great way to spend quality time with those you love.

Furthermore, overweight people of any age group can play table tennis. Naturally, this means there are countless people you can play table tennis against. In this way, table tennis can also help improve communication and build relationships between players regardless of their age.

Playing Table Tennis Reduces Colds

Did you know that playing table tennis regularly can actively reduce your chances of catching a cold? This was confirmed in a study from the British Journal Of Sports Medicine. This study revealed that regular table tennis players have a 46% lower chance of catching a common cold than those who didn’t! Due to the many health benefits of playing table tennis, this sport will even reduce the number of cold symptoms you experience and the severity of the symptoms.

How To Start Playing Table Tennis When You’re Overweight

When starting to exercise as an overweight person, two of the best tips are to do an activity that you enjoy and to have an exercise buddy. Well, when it comes down to table tennis, you can kill two birds with one stone! In this section, we’ll outline three additional tips to help get you started on your table tennis journey.

Start Playing Table Tennis Slowly

If you haven’t been active recently, you should ease into playing table tennis. Essentially, you want to ensure that you give your body sufficient time to adjust to the activity. Start by playing shorter table tennis matches and then gradually increasing the duration of your games.

Overweight individuals are at risk of overexerting themselves when they first start engaging in physically demanding activities. However, by starting slowly, you can ease yourself into your new routine and start gaining momentum. In turn, this will allow you to reap the benefits this sport offers.

Stay Hydrated While Playing Table Tennis

As you get into the routine of playing table tennis, you should ensure that you remain hydrated. This involves drinking water before, during, and after you exercise. As you play table tennis, sweat will evaporate from your skin, which means you’re losing heat and body fluid.

By drinking enough fluids during exercise to replace those you’re losing when you sweat, you can remain hydrated and reduce the risk of heat stress. Ultimately, this is some of the best advice for maintaining normal body functions and performance levels!

Wear A Fitness Tracker While Playing Table Tennis

When it comes to playing table tennis, many new players don’t consider wearing fitness trackers while playing. However, using a fitness tracker will help you keep track of your progress, set goals, and stay motivated on your table tennis journey.

Players often have so much fun playing table tennis that they forget it has many health benefits. However, a fitness tracker will remind you of these health benefits. You’ll be surprised by how many calories you can burn with one table tennis match alone!

What Can New Table Tennis Players Learn From The Pros?

Now that we’ve outlined some tips to get you started on your table tennis journey, let’s look at five habits that new players can learn from the professionals. As you keep improving your table tennis skills, you’ll be able to implement the following aspects. These principles will help you achieve any goals you set for yourself!

Remain Relaxed And Efficient

One lesson new table tennis players can learn from the professionals is that staying relaxed is key! You should avoid getting tense and fighting with the ball while playing, as this wastes your energy. Instead, you should maintain a relaxed arm and body to ensure you’re playing as efficiently as possible.

Be Aware Of Your Opponents

If you’ve ever watched professionals playing table tennis, you likely noticed that the opponents remain aware of one another. You can take advantage of the game by focusing on your opponent’s position and where they are playing the table tennis ball. Of course, it’s just as important to be aware of your own mistakes and how to prevent these.

Avoid Distractions While Playing

To really improve your table tennis skills, you should avoid distractions while playing. Naturally, not all players play at the same intensity as the professional table tennis players. However, blocking out any distractions allows you to fully commit to playing table tennis to the best of your ability. Ultimately, this is the best way to reap the health benefits we discussed earlier!

Practice Your Serves

To stay sharp for games, professional players routinely practice their serves. The same principle should be applied if you want to up your game with table tennis: you should regularly practice your serves! As you practice, you’ll be able to refine the quality of your serves and be ready to show off during a game of table tennis.  

Train On And Off The Table

While table tennis can be a great aerobic exercise, professional players train on and off the table! Once you start to see results from playing this sport, you should start incorporating other forms of exercise into your routine. These can include running, swimming, and walking. Doing this will only further improve your table tennis skills.


It is possible to play table tennis even if you are overweight. A player’s ability to play to his or her strengths is essential to success in table tennis. While being fat won’t prevent you from playing table tennis, it will provide you with great health benefits. Table tennis can be used to safely burn calories, protect your joints, improve your energy levels, keep your brain sharp, and give you a fun social outlet.


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