Top 10 Health Benefits of Playing Basketball
More than 3 million peoplewatched the NBA finals in 2016. That number — the highest ratings the event has gotten in 18 years — shows that basketball continues to be at the peak of popularity.
Of course, you don’t have to be a professional to enjoy playing basketball. Even at a recreational or school team level, there are benefits of basketball that all players can enjoy.
Basketball is fun for players, obviously, but it also helps you stay in shape and can improve your mental health too. It teaches lessons that go far beyond how to dribble a ball or shoot a layup.
And you’re never too old or too young to play, whether it’s in a pickup game at the park or on a team at school.
If you’re considering taking up the sport or are looking for reasons to keep playing, read on. Below, we’re breaking down the top 10 benefits of basketball.
1. Lose Weight by Burning Calories
Basketball is a fast-paced, physical game that requires players to constantly be running back and forth on the court. That may sound tiring, but it’s actually one of the biggest benefits of basketball.
Even when the ball isn’t in your possession or when your team is on defense, you’re still always on the move during a game.
That type of cardiovascular activity is great for burning calories, which may eventually lead to weight loss and can improve your overall health.
2. Learn How to Be on a Team
One of the benefits of basketball is that it’s indisputably a team sport. Even star players can’t accomplish anything without support. With five players on the court at any given time, basketball teaches you an awareness that extends beyond yourself.
Playing basketball teaches you to trust in the skill and ability of the people around you. On the court, it’s having confidence that your teammate will make a great pass or a good rebound.
Those skills carry over off the court too, teaching you to be a better and more trusting teammate in every aspect of your life.
3. Boost Your Endurance
During a basketball game, it’s not uncommon for a player to be running and moving constantly for 30 minutes or more. That kind of nonstop activity keeps your heart rate up, With each game your endurance builds.
As you continue to play basketball, you’ll be able to go longer without getting tired. That can improve your skills on the court, but it also makes basketball a great cross-training activity for other duration sports, like marathon running or cycling.
4. Protect Against Bone Loss
A recent study found that sports involving both jumping and fast starts and stops — like basketball — can help increase bone density of players, particularly young men.
Load-bearing activities like these put pressure on the bone, which can help encourage the formation of new bone tissue.
Since bone loss is a factor in osteoporosis, the benefits of basketball — particularly for players who start at a young age — could still be felt much later in life.
5. Reduce Stress
Exercise is one of the healthiest ways to deal with the stress of everyday life, and basketball is a particularly great outlet. Because of the physicality of the game, you are able to be aggressive in a way that you ordinarily can’t.
Whether it’s swishing the ball through the net, winning a toss-up, or snatching a rebound, basketball provides lots of small opportunities to win throughout the game. That can make you feel less stressed about what’s happening off the court.
6. Opportunities for Strength Training
Basketball in itself is a full body workout. But if you’re playing for a school team or are serious about further pursuing the game, you’ll also have opportunities for additional strength training.
The natural movements of the game — like shooting, dribbling and running — can help you build muscles in your arms and legs and strengthen your core. Then, when you’re off the court, you can support the further development of those muscles in the weight room.
7. Support Mental Development
The physical benefits of basketball are well-documented, but playing the sport can do a lot for your mental health as well.
Throughout the game, there are countless moments when you’ll have to think on your feet or revise your strategy on the spot. It’s impossible to predict every move the other team will make — or even every move that your team will make.
Playing basketball requires you to be mentally flexible, which can help you adapt to new situations throughout your life.
8. Improve Coordination
In the middle of a basketball game, when you have the ball and an opportunity to score, it’s guaranteed that an opposing player will be doing their best to defend you. You don’t have time to stop and set your feet perfect before you get your shot.
Learning how to elegantly connect all the movements together — the running, setting up the shot, then actually shooting — is a matter of balance and coordination.
Learn those lessons playing the sport, and you’ll have the opportunity to use them every day in your life off the court.
9. Learn Spatial Awareness
During a basketball game, you need to be constantly aware of where you are, and of where other things are in relation to you. You need to know where other players on your team are, where your opponents are and where the ball and basket are.
Knowing how to position yourself correctly in the middle of all of those outside objects is the only way you’ll ever find yourself in the right position to score when your team needs it most.
10. Practice Social Skills
Being on a basketball team requires you to constantly communicate with other players. On the court, you’re calling for a pass or directing teammates, but you want to build camaraderie off the court as well.
The social interaction of being on a basketball team and having that close-knit relationship with your fellow players can boost your confidence in other social situations, and make you a better communicator overall.
Want to Know More about the Benefits of Basketball?
Maybe you’re looking for a new activity to take up with friends, or maybe you’re hoping to encourage your child to join a sports team at school. No matter what the circumstance, playing basketball can benefit you in many different aspects of your life.
For more information about how to improve your basketball skills, please contact us at any time.