Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking. How many calories can I lose by playing basketball? But the thing is, obviously that’s not the only benefit of playing basketball. I mean, you’d lose weight with probably any physical activity. But when it comes to playing a sport, you’ve got to think beyond just losing a few measly calories. So, here are some of the health benefits of basketball.
Basketball’s gonna help you lose weight
The most obvious and maybe even the most popular health benefit. Basketball is quite fast paced, it’s intense. So yes, it will help you lose weight. But again, you can’t expect *only* basketball to help you lose weight, and you can’t expect miraculous results. A good diet will form a major component of your weight loss program. If some sources on the internet are to be believed, you could lose about 550 calories an hour playing proper basketball on half court.
It’s good for your heart!
Basketball is also a great way to work on your cardiovascular fitness. It helps build cardiovascular endurance. Let me explain this a bit.
Cardiovascular fitness refers to the ability of the heart to pump oxygen rich blood to the muscle tissues that need it. Our muscles will use this oxygen for energy during sustained physical activity. Cardiovascular endurance could be thought of a measure as to how fit your heart is, and a measure of your stamina. The better cardio endurance you have, the more efficient the body becomes at using oxygen, and the lower your heart rate. Cardiovascular fitness will also reduce your chances of getting a heart disease or a stroke.
Basketball is a very good way to increase your endurance given its vigorous and intense workout.
It’s also good for your bones!
First let’s see what our bones are made up of. When you try and imagine a bone, you’re thinking of its outer shell – which is dense, hard, calcified material, and it’s called the matrix. This actually houses living cells inside, named osteoblasts, and osteoclasts. Osteoblasts are the productive guys, they keep producing new bone matrix. On the other hand osteoclasts are the slackers. They keep degrading the bone matrix. For the bones to become stronger and denser, the osteoblasts must produce the outer matrix at a faster rate than what is degraded by the osteoclasts. Basketball helps us in this. Because basketball needs us to run in short bursts, to jump and stretch, it stimulates the osteoblasts to produce new bone matrix in the legs, spine, and pelvis.
Also due to the stress placed on the joints, the ligaments joining the bones become stronger.
It helps you calm down!
A team sport helps you socialize a bit. It is also a known fact that playing sports cheers you up, and hence you have a better immune system too.
So, what are you waiting for? Start shooting some hoops!