Table tennis

My name is Igor. I live in Ukraine, in Zaporizhia city. I was born in 1960.  I have been suffering from Parkinson disease for 20 years now, I have 2nd category  of disability and retired 6 years ago. I have been paying table tennis since childhood.  I am not a professional  but I think I have got advanced level as a fan. I have not played tennis for 5-6 years. In June I have discovered that there is a tennis court next to me where professionals train.  I asked the coach to allow me to play with them and to play for the score with some of them. The coach agreed and first two weeks I was in perfect state (though I was in similar condition half a year ago). As a result I started to train 3-4 times a week for  1.5 hours as I enjoyed the process of the game, plus I have strong sport passion and desire to win. After two weeks the following disease symptoms have sharpened: chest stiffness, freezing on the spot,  I had poor sleep, I could hardly move in bed,  I started to suffer from night body cramps, my legs and arms went numb as well as neck and shoulders. I had similar situation 5 years ago when I decided I could do without pills (Stalevo, Mirapex) and did not take pills for a month.  After a month I stopped this experiment as I realized I just made my state worse and this idea would not lead to positive changes.
Now I am at the crossroads. The opportunity to play tennis is very important to me as this is the only physical activity which brings me emotional pleasure and makes me move. At the same time I have some inner feeling that these trainings can bring me harm (due to increased doze of Levodopa, due to more stiffness, due to acceleration of the disease).
I will be very grateful  for any comments concerning table tennis,  its influence on Parkinson disease, and especially its effect on stiffness. I would like to say again that in my case this is not just a simple play with a ball but full training where I am trying to correspond to healthy and trained people.

It's a strange feature of PD that at the same time you can be both good and bad at what appears at first sight as similar activities. In my case, it can take over a minute to move the cursor to the other side of the computer screen, whereas I can move very quickly to catch a ball.

I think any reasonable amount of exercise is good for PwP. Both tennis and table tennis have a lot to recommend them, because they involve a wide variety of movements. You may find that to start with more exercise requires more medication, especially levodopa. But, in the long run, your increased fitness will leave you better off. There is some research evidence that exercise slows the progression of PD. At the very least it improves your mood and gives you the skills needed in every day life.

My approach is to try it and see what happens.

A final point, I would not beat myself up, if I cannot win all the time: sometimes the Parkinson's will make you uncompetitive.


Hi igor - yes table tennis great for parkinsonS - I have a table tennis table in my shop and try to get anyone who comes in to have a game - makes my medicines work better


On the news just now they are saying it could hold the key to tackling alzheimers as a training tool for maintaining hand to eye co-ordination.