One of the top favored pastimes in American culture, basketball has always been fun to watch on TV, but have you ever considered it as a way to benefit your physical and mental health?
Basketball is typically played on a basketball court with two teams of five players on either side, attempting to get a ball through the other team’s net as much as possible. Different numbered points are awarded depending on where a shot was taken when the ball passed through the net. Basketball has much more flexibility, however, as you can simply play against yourself throwing solo shots on a court, or even do a small pick-up game with five friends so the teams are three against three. When it comes to playing basketball, don’t miss these awesome health benefits:
Burns Serious Calories
Did you know that an hour of basketball may burn upwards of 600 to 900 calories depending on your size? This serious energy-expending sport involves almost constant activity when you are on the court, even when you’re not carrying the ball yourself. Guarding, running up and down the court, passing, you name it – basketball generates a heart-thumping workout that will have you sweating and out of breath in even a few minutes.
Unlike other sports like soccer which focus on foot and eye coordination, basketball hones hand eye coordination skills as well as balance and agility. Imagine running up and down a basketball court ten times and then having to stop, concentrate, take aim, and shoot at the net. Doesn’t sound easy, and that’s why the practice of playing basketball is so effective at sharpening focus and coordinating spatial awareness and the senses – touch, sight, and even hearing.
As a social sport, basketball ranks at the top of the list, making it a great activity for kids and adults alike. The success of a basketball team relies on all members of a team including those who shoot the ball and those who guard against players trying to steal the ball. Passing drills are common amongst basketball teams as they teach team coordination and passing technique. Social interaction plays an important role in maintaining good mental health, and interacting in a social setting where working together is simply fun, like in basketball, provides a perfect opportunity.
Builds Bone Density
While considered a higher-impact activity because of the jumping involved, basketball does wonders for strengthening bones. The weight-bearing nature of activities like basketball results in stress on the musculoskeletal system which stimulates the body to fortify bones with calcium and other minerals. This can help build a reserve of bone strength that potentially lowers risk for developing osteoporosis later in life.
The fast-paced nature of basketball which keeps your heart rate up and your lungs expanding for upwards of 30 minutes to an hour at a time (or longer) helps to build endurance with each game. Extending your own time to exhaustion when working out or playing sports is a matter or the strength of your heart pumping blood as well as your lungs intaking oxygen to circulate to your starved muscles. Regular basketball practice, similar to marathon training, helps build up endurance to make your athletic performance last longer.
Exercise, in general, helps to boost feelings of self-esteem and positivity, especially with regular endorphin output, however, basketball incorporates additional attitude-boosting aspects. The social interaction combined with confidence from successfully making clean shots can increase feelings of self-worth, positivity, and potentially fight existing stress and anxiety.
Don’t let a minor fitness injury sideline your basketball hobby. Knee, ankle, or leg pain can often accompany prolonged play, especially if you land poorly when jumping. A knee brace for basketball can help support and stabilize the leg to keep you playing without injury – check out more information here. For many athletes in high-impact sports like running, soccer, or volleyball, basketball is a fun cross-training activity that maintains calorie-burning movement and still helps to build bone mass and muscle tone.