“If I can challenge old ideas about aging, I will feel more and more invigorated. I want to represent this new way. I want to be a new version of the 70-year-old woman. Vital, strong, very physical, very agile.” – Jamie Lee Curtis
Staying active as we age is important to overall physical and mental health. According to studies by the Ping Pong Care Campaign, table tennis sees numerous beneficial effects such as improved mobility and mental health, improved sleep, increased cerebral blood flow, better coordination and joint mobility, increased upper body strength, and greater balance which reduces the risk of falls.
Anne DuHaime is an avid table tennis player here at the Y. Suffering from severe arthritis, it’s one of the few sports she can still play. She originally joined the Y for access to our warm pool to ease the pain of her arthritis. Soon after, she met Snow Chu, with whom she shared a mutual love of table tennis! Snow got a table set up in the senior room and gradually more and more people joined. So many, in fact, that they became a bit too noisy to share the Commons! So they got their own room and four tables, and now boast a membership of about 30 people.
When asked whether it’s “ping pong” or “table tennis,” Snow quipped “Well, ping pong is one way you can play…But we play table tennis!” Make no mistake, these ladies are serious about this sport. They even compete in the NJ Senior Olympics. For the past two years, Anne and Snow took the Gold and Silver, respectively, in their age group for singles. Last year, Anne also took Silver in the mixed doubles, while Snow took Gold in doubles and mixed doubles. They both look forward to competing against each other again this September.
It’s not all serious, though! Over the past five years, Anne has made thirty new, good friends through table tennis. The group has become very close and even enjoys celebrating each other’s birthdays together. She encourages others who may have certain physical challenges to check out their group for some good exercise and always a friendly atmosphere!
The Table Tennis Club meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:30am-12:30 pm in the Rose Fernandez Commons. Get a workout with this active club and have fun serving, volleying and smashing.
By: Tracy L. Nieradka