Written by Shawna Newman for KICK Foosball.
If it’s not work, it’s not working.
This is a concept many of us adopt when it comes to our fitness routines- and for a good reason. Building muscle requires micro-tears, and micro-tears are something you should feel when you’ve finished a workout.
Keeping your heart rate too low does nothing to improve your heart health. So, soft workouts have very little impact beyond a few burned calories and a little more time up off your butt.
Gentle workouts DO, however, burn calories and get you up off your butt; benefits that shouldn’t be discounted when you’re working on adopting an overall healthier lifestyle. While soft exercise isn’t going to improve your cardiovascular health or bulk you up, it can add some activity to your day that has positive effects on your body and overall fitness.
Tables games, like pool, foosball, and air hockey, can provide some light, supplemental exercise to your workout routine that has surprising benefits for your health!
Tables Games Provide You a (Fun) Reason to Get Up
Standing burns more calories than sitting.
The difference isn’t much: 0.1 calories more per minute on for women average, 0.15 for men. But even small caloric expenditures can add up. By standing for six hours a day, an average woman burns over 50 extras calories per day, which adds up to more than five pounds in a year.
So, if table games will get you up off the couch and on your feet more often than a treadmill, why not keep one on hand?
Table Games Burn More Calories Than Standing Alone
Though standing provides a boost in your daily calorie burn on its own, you don’t just stand to play table games, like pool, air hockey, and shuffleboard.
You shift. You lean. You reach.
The faster-paced the game, the more you do these motions- making games like ping pong and air hockey some of the most effective for burning calories.
Even a rousing foosball match can get your heart rate up! My fitness tracker clocks my heart rate at over 100 bpm when playing a game of foosball, more than 30 bpm above my average resting heart rate.
This adds up to a caloric expenditure of around 70 calories in 15 minutes, which equals the number of calories I typically burn over an hour.
It’s not much, but it’s still a boost, and it doesn’t feel like a workout.
Tables Games Can Provide You a Decent Upper Body Workout
Whacking a ping pong ball back and forth isn’t going to turn you into an action movie hero, but try playing ping pong for an hour or so and see if you don’t feel it.
Not only do many table games require substantial upper body effort, they often move your upper body in ways your standard workout doesn’t, providing variety to your routine. It’s hardly weight training, but it does get your muscles working.
For a real bonus, learn to play ambidextrously, and switch arms. You don’t have to be good; you just need to give your non-dominant muscles some of the workout. Getting started with fitness video games and using your non-dominant hand is a great way to improve your weaker arm’s coordination.
And speaking of coordination…
Table Games are Good for Coordination and Fine Motor Skills
Perhaps the most important impact playing tables games can have on your fitness routine, especially as you age, is an increase in your motor skills and coordination. The better your motor skills, the better your form will be when you exercise, making workouts safer and more beneficial.
Furthermore, playing table games can improve your workouts and benefit you in the sports you play through improving your coordination and fine motor skills.
If you’re an athlete, you know how essential coordination and motor skills are to your performance on the field. If you can add small improvements to your body while having a good time, all the better!