Did you know that, in the U.S. alone, an estimated 26 million people play basketball regularly? That makes it the most-played team sport, despite only being the third most popular.
One reason that basketball is so popular is its wide availability to the general public. After all, people can play it almost anywhere, from indoor or outdoor courts to the road. One can even practice it alone, such as in the yard.
It also doesn’t hurt that playing basketball is more than just fun. Studies have shown that it can bring many health benefits.
In this article, we’ll talk about the top benefits of basketball. So, keep reading, as they may be enough to motivate you to start playing yourself.
1. Promotes Better Heart Health
Physical activity promotes increased blood flow throughout the body. In addition, it helps boost the muscles’ ability to take and absorb oxygen from the blood. That reduces the need for the heart to pump harder to deliver more blood to the muscles.
Basketball, in turn, is a Group III cardiorespiratory activity. That means the sport requires specific skills and cardiovascular intensity levels. As a result, it can increase heart rate during play and at rest.
A higher resting heart rate can lead to improvements in your cardiorespiratory fitness. That’s because it causes a boost in blood flow, which means your body gets more nutrients and oxygen.
Thus, basketball benefits you as it allows you to train your heart to pump stronger with less effort. That then strengthens your heart muscles while also decreasing the force on arteries.
2. May Aid in Controlling Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can damage the arteries and blood vessels. Left uncontrolled, it can lead to more severe problems such as a stroke, heart attack, or heart failure. It may also raise your risk of aneurysm, metabolic syndrome, memory woes, and dementia.
According to experts, a lack of physical activity is a factor for hypertension. Fortunately, it’s modifiable, considering that you have the choice to be more active.
So, why not try playing basketball, which you may find to be a pleasurable form of exercise? The more you play, the stronger your heart can be, which can then help you keep your blood pressure low.
3. Excellent Calorie Burner
Losing one pound of weight requires burning 3,500 more calories than your intake. So if your goal is to shed a pound each week, you need to reduce your daily intake by 500 calories.
Dieting may work, but it can be too restrictive, so pairing it with activity is much better.
Fortunately, basketball can burn 240 to 355 calories in half an hour, based on a person’s weight. So if you play for at least one hour, you can burn 480 to over 710 calories per game!
4. Helps Keep Your Weight in Check
Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce your odds of developing chronic conditions. For instance, it may help avert heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes. In addition, it may lower your risks for various types of cancers.
By contrast, people who are overweight or have obesity have a higher risk for those health woes. They’re also more likely to develop sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and body pain. All that can then lead to them living a lower quality of life.
Since playing basketball can burn many calories, it can help you shed pounds. That’s a good enough reason to include it in your regimen to maintain a healthy weight.
5. Supports Bone and Muscle Strength
Weight-bearing activities put extra pressure on the bones and muscles. That then causes them to work harder, and while it may sound painful, it helps improve their endurance. From there, they become stronger and more resistant to damage.
Indeed, experts say such activities help build and maintain healthy bones and muscles.
You want stronger bones because they have a lower likelihood of becoming brittle. That then helps minimize their risk of breakage.
As for the muscles, the stronger they are, the more flexible they can be.
Basketball is a perfect example of weight-bearing and resistance exercise. After all, it requires brisk walking, jogging, running, jumping, and twisting.
However, using proper basketball sneakers is essential to reaping those benefits. For example, they must provide enough cushioning whenever you perform those movements. Wear incorrect or ill-fitting shoes, and your feet won’t only get tired early; your knees and legs may hurt, too.
That said, always make sure you wear shoes specifically designed for basketball.
If you have yet to own a pair of basketball shoes, you might want to buy Jordans online. They’re from the product line first produced for Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. If they were good enough for him, they’d likely be good enough for you, too.
6. Helps Improve Balance
Having a good balance is essential to maintaining your body in an upright position. Therefore, it helps you walk without staggering or swaying from left to right. It also lets you do activities, such as climbing stairs, without tripping or falling.
Many factors can affect your balance, including bone and muscle strength. For example, you might lose your balance if you have frail bones since they can’t support your weight. The same can happen if you have weak muscles, as they can make your knees buckle.
Since basketball can strengthen bones and muscles, it may also improve your balance. That can make you less likely to slip, trip, and fall. Ultimately, it can help lower your risk for accidents that may lead to broken bones.
7. Improves Your Eye-Hand-Foot Coordination
Whatever your eyes see on the court guides the movements you perform with your hands. For instance, if you see the ball coming toward you, you react by reaching out with your hands to grab the ball. That response is a result of your eye-hand coordination.
Likewise, if you see the ball a few feet away, you respond by running toward it. That reaction, in turn, stems from your eye-foot coordination.
And the more you play basketball, the more you can hone such coordination skills.
Having good eye-hand and eye-foot coordination can then help improve your balance. In contrast, you’re more likely to stumble, trip, or fall if your eyes don’t work well with your hands and feet.
In addition, having better eye-hand-foot coordination can boost your reaction times. That’s because your senses work seamlessly together and, thus, communicate faster.
Having faster reaction times don’t only benefit you on the court, though. For example, it can be a lifesaver during emergencies, as you can react more quickly to get out of harm’s way.
8. Fosters Communication Skills
As a team sport, basketball requires you to coordinate and work with your other team members. For instance, you must plan your team’s defense and offense to win. Working together is also necessary to cut through the other team’s play.
That said, basketball is a sport where constant communication is necessary. Because of that, it may help enhance your communication skills. You can then use these life skills in and out of the court.
9. Encourages Self-Confidence
The more you play basketball, the better your dribbling and shooting skills. You may also notice that your running and coordinated movements have improved. Moreover, all those hours of activity could improve your body composition.
All those positive changes can then give your self-confidence a boost. From there, you can apply your newly gained belief and trust in yourself in other aspects of your life.
10. Can Help Ease Stress
Engaging in an exercise or sport triggers the release of hormones called endorphins. These are chemicals that play a role in mood; the more of them you have in your system, the better or happier you may feel. They also counter the effects of cortisol, the hormone that induces stress.
Don’t forget that playing basketball itself is enjoyable. And if you do something that pleases you, it also causes the release of endorphins.
So when you play basketball, you can get a double serving of feel-good, happy hormones. That can then help you feel better and less stressed.
Controlling your stress is crucial because it can contribute to severe health woes. For example, experts say chronic stress can lead to conditions like inflammatory diseases. It may also heighten your risk of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
Start Playing Basketball Today
And there you have it, your ultimate guide on the top benefits of playing basketball. Now you know it can do wonders not only for your physical health but also for your mental well-being. You’ve also learned that it can help you build excellent communication skills.
So, why not start playing basketball today? The sooner you do, the sooner you can begin reaping all its incredible benefits.
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