7 Health Benefits of Playing Basketball
You will surely agree with me when I say that basketball is probably the most popular sports in the world. And it does not come as a surprise to most of us. After all, playing basketball improves our social skills and boost our health. It even has the added bonus of being fun!
I know, you may have already heard (time and time again) how playing basketball can be beneficial to our health. But have you ever stopped and wondered how can you exactly benefit from it?
If you are wondering what health benefits you may get from playing basketball, here are the benefits you should know about:
1. Basketball strengthens the bones.
There is no denying the fact that basketball is a physically demanding sport. It requires a lot of jumping, running, blocking, and a whole lot more. These activities are often referred to as weight-bearing activities as that force the body to work against gravity.
These activities strengthen the bones by stimulating the release of bone-building cells called osteoblasts. When you give your body proper rest, these cells can help make the bones become stronger and healthier.
But as expected, you may encounter a few injuries too when you play basketball. The most common of which is an ankle sprain. What you can do is to wear the right shoe to avoid ankle sprains.
When choosing your basketball shoe, make sure that its bottom part is wide and stable to prevent accidents.
2. Basketball strengthens the body.
In addition to your bones, playing basketball can strengthen the muscles as well. Many people consider basketball to be some sort of strength training exercise.
When you are playing defense against the other team, you are using your core, back, legs, and arms to maintain your position and block out your opponent.
On the other hand, you get to strengthen your muscles too when you are playing in the offense. After all, the muscles in your arms, chest, and fingers get worked up also when you shoot and dribble the ball.
3. Basketball boosts health.
We all know that basketball is beneficial for our heart. When you play basketball, you will be running back and forth for an hour or so. All this running can get your heart pumping, and your breathing labored.
The increase in your breathing and heart rate trains your cardiovascular system to become more efficient, stronger and better. As a result, your more oxygen and blood get pumped to your muscles, allowing them to work harder for a longer period.
Aside from increased cardiovascular output, having a healthy heart also means that you will have lower blood pressure and a decreased risk of having heart diseases or attacks.
4. Basketball enhances motor skills.
The goal of playing basketball is pretty simple—you just have to score as many points as you can. But along the way, you can be able to develop a wide array of skills—your motor skills are some of them.
Catching rebounds improves full-body coordination while dribbling and grabbing the ball enhances hand-eye coordination.
5. Basketball burns calories.
Basketball is considered to be an aerobic exercise, a type of exercise that is effective in burning calories and getting rid of excess body fats. Most aerobic exercises, like basketball, can burn 600 to 900 calories in an hour, depending on the intensity of your pace and your weight.
Moreover, the physical demands of basketball can also stimulate the body’s metabolism. As a result, your body will be more efficient in burning fats and calories.
An even better news is that performing intense aerobic exercise can boost your Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). This means that your body will still be burning a significant amount of calories even if your body is already at rest.
6. Basketball improves cognitive function.
The health benefits of basketball go beyond just the physical. You see, basketball is a mental sport too.
During the game, you have to constantly observe both your opponents and your teammates for you to determine what moves you can make to carry out the defense or make some points. As a result, playing basketball can help in improving your cognitive function and at the same time, enhance your mental reactions time.
7. Basketball reduces stress.
Yes, you can play basketball alone but where is the fun in that, right? Basketball is a sport designed to be played as a team which gives you plenty of time to socialize and have fun with your friends and acquaintances. Just being with people can surely help reduce your stress.
But more than that, being a part of a team can help you in improving your confidence and self-esteem which help you to feel better about yourself eventually.
Lastly, there is a scientific basis on how basketball (or physical activity in general) can help reduce stress. Strenuous running promotes the release of endorphins. These are more commonly called as the happy hormones because they instill feelings of euphoria and block out the pain receptors in our bodies.
A Few Reminders When Playing Basketball
So there you go—these are some of the health benefits that you can enjoy when you play basketball, but please be reminded that there is also a risk of injury when you play this game. The only way that you can minimize the risk of injury is to perform warm-ups before the game, maintain a healthy balanced diet, and wear the right shoes.
Among these three recommendations, it is choosing the right shoe that is the trickiest to do. Lucky for you, there are already plenty of tips on how to select the best ones online today—go for shoes with traction, stability, and the likes. But more than these tips, the best thing that you can do is to try them on (try to run and jump as you do) to make sure that they are the right fit for you.