As part of our ongoing corporate wellness program, our wellness committee decided to have ping pong tournaments throughout the year. I will admit, at first this did not seem like a true “health and wellbeing” initiative. It just seemed like fun.
And it was fun. The first tournament was a huge success.
After experiencing the tournament first-hand, I cannot imagine a more engaging, inclusive initiative to encourage health and wellbeing.
The reasons are numerous.
Ping pong isn’t like a 5K or basketball. Most people know how to play, and the physical demands are not too daunting. The peer pressure, the competitive talk leading up to the tournament, and the email and intranet reminders proved to be more than most people could resist.
Employees came to the tournament ready to play.
We laughed. And laughed.
Experts agree that laughter is a great form of stress relief. Laughter stimulates organs, soothes tension, improves the immune system, relieves pain, improves coping with difficult situations, and makes people happy.
We have all heard about the dangers of sitting all day. Our ping pong tournament got almost every employee up at least one extra time in the middle of the day.
And while the games weren’t like running a 5K, they were lively, with spurts of increased activity.
I can say with certainty that the games raised everyone’s heart rate!
There were other physical benefits, too. Ping pong improves fine motor control, reflexes, and hand-eye coordination, and it does so in an activity in which there is a low risk of injury.
Ping pong is true exercise—it is even an Olympic sport!
We played doubles so employees worked together in teams of two. There was a Whole Foods gift card at stake, so everyone was adequately incentivized!
The smiles spilled into the remainder of the work day, and the spirit and tone of the office was enhanced. Employees returned to their desks recharged and energized.
Some aspects of corporate wellness programs can be complicated. Making sure programs are strategically designed and compliant can be complex and overwhelming.
But ping pong is neither complex nor overwhelming. It is simple and fun. Its impact is huge, and its cost is low ($200-$400).