Table tennis taking off

People playing for fun and to burn off extra calories

DANIA BEACH, Fla. - At one time or another we've about all played ping-pong or table tennis.

More people now are finding hitting the little white ball is helping them burn a whole lot of calories and have fun doing it.

Jorge Alistizabal pounds ball after ball over the net practicing table tennis, sometimes training 3 hours a day at Broward Table Tennis Club in Dania Beach. Hitting the 2.7 gram ball has helped him lose 26 pounds.

"It's about 300 calories that we are burning training with the multi-ball exercise," said Alistizabal. "It's just great to come to a club, be with the people, enjoy, have a good time."

The 16 tables fill up quickly with the after work crowd.

A growing number come to exercise and unwind.

"You can come here and have the most stressful day at work and you are going to come and start hitting that ball and everything goes away," said owner Terese Terranova.

Terranova has competed at the highest levels in table tennis, winning an Olympic gold medal in 1988.

She says there is room in the club for players at all stages and ages.

Gal Gmach is 13 years old, practicing with Edward Predota who has been playing for 40 years.

"Like people say oh it's so easy table tennis but when you really start and play professionally it's like so intense. It's just so fast and quick," said Gmach.

"No matter how old you are, how good you are, you're always going to find somebody to play, and you're always going to enjoy that game," said Predota.

Some players come every night, building up their skills, getting ready for the competition.

"You play for bragging rights right now to see who is better than who. There are tournaments that we do play at times. But mainly it's just for bragging rights," said Winston Eham.

It doesn't take much to get started, a paddle and $10.

Broward Table Tennis Club is open 7 days a week.

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