While it does not quite yet enjoy the global support of soccer, basketball still ranks high amongst the most widely played sports. More than 450 million people worldwide regularly enjoy hitting the court on either an amateur or professional level.
In addition to having few rules and requiring little in the way of equipment, basketball also offers participants a number of wonderful health benefits.
A 30-minute game of basketball does wonders for those looking to lose weight. Depending on a player’s weight and the intensity of a game, participants can burn a decent number of calories.
Fitness for Weight Loss reports that a 150-pound individual can lose 160 calories shooting baskets, 215 calories playing recreational basketball, and a whopping 285 calories each half hour of participating in a competitive game.
Total body weight actually increases a person’s calorie burning capacity, so this is a sport that will profit many different body sizes. Burning more calories than you take in is the key to weight loss and basketball is a fun and challenging way to do that.
Muscle and Bone
You are constantly on the move in basketball and that really helps to build the muscles in your legs. Dribbling helps with arm strength, as do chest passes. Core strength also increases when performing these activities, while jump shots help to improve leg strength.
All of that running and jumping is also very good for promoting bone health. As we age, our bones weaken, making us more likely to suffer a break from a fall. Physical activity helps to prevent this by causing the body to maintain or even generate new bone tissue. A healthy bone is a strong bone, and those who keep that in mind remain safer and more mobile in their later years.
All that physical activity can really increase your endurance and that makes it easier to enjoy all manner of physical pursuits. Cardio exercises increase the health of your heart and blood vessels. That helps to stave off heart disease and related ailments that can drastically shorten a person’s lifespan.
The intensity of a basketball game can vary depending on the type and the participants; if you are playing at a pace that gets you to around 50-75% of your maximum heart rate; it qualifies as a solid cardio workout.
Players must dribble, dodge and fake out opponents, watch for teammates to pass to, and aim their shots with precision. There is a lot going on in basketball and a competitor must be aware of their surroundings, the other players, and the ball at all times. This is not like baseball, where a centerfielder may spend most of the game standing around in the outfield—you don’t wait for the ball to come to you in basketball! Play this sport regularly and you will find your spatial awareness improving quite noticeably.
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