Basketball is a really great game to play and that is true for a great number of reasons. Sure, you may not be a professional superstar in the NBA, and you might not be raking in millions per year just for playing a game, but it is a great sport and it can be a lot of fun to play. The benefits of basketball are very numerous, with each one being very important for your health, fitness, and for your mental abilities too.
Basketball is not just as simple as shooting a ball, but with some practice, you can definitely get good at it. If you’re interested in learning what the various health benefits of basketball are, give this a read through and you’ll be playing a game of hoops in no time at all.
Benefit #1: Increasing The Strength Of Your Bones
One amazing benefit that comes along with playing the game of basketball is that it has the ability to increase the strength of your bones. This is because while basketball is mostly a cardiovascular exercise, it also qualifies as a weight bearing exercise. A weight bearing exercise is any kind of exercise that forces us to hold up our own weight.
When it comes to basketball, all of the running that is involved definitely qualifies as weight bearing, and more so, the jumping that is involved involves even more of that same weight bearing stuff. Weight bearing exercises are fantastic for strengthening our bones because it’s like training your muscles by doing dumbbell curls. The more we use our bones and the more weight we put on them, the more they grow and the stronger they become.
When you put weight on your bones, the osteoblasts are caused to develop more bone mass, and just like muscles they become thicker, denser, and stronger. Those are all things which are very important for our health, especially in our old age. Stronger and denser bones help to prevent breaks when we fall and they also help to prevent degenerative bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
Benefit #2: A Good Cardiovascular Workout
Cardiovascular health is a very important aspect of keeping your body fit and living for a long time, something that basketball can definitely help with. Basketball is a very high paced game that has you running back and forth for an hour straight, or even longer depending on the way the game goes, and that definitely gets your heart pumping.
A game of basketball will increase your heart rate and your breathing, both things which train your cardiovascular system to be stronger and more efficient. Your heart and lungs are muscles like your biceps too, which means that if you train them enough, they end up getting stronger. A stronger cardiovascular system is extremely important in terms of physical output because the more blood and oxygen get pumped to your muscles, the harder they can work and they can do so for a longer period of time.
Not only is physical output a big bonus of cardiovascular health, but a healthy heart means having lower blood pressure, a lower resting heart rate, a reduced risk of suffering from heart attacks and heart disease, all of which contribute to a long and healthy life.
Benefit #3: Burning Big Calories
One of the biggest benefits that come along with playing a few games of basketball per week is that it can help you burn a serious number of calories. When it comes to burning calories and getting rid of body fat, aerobic exercise is one of the best ways to get it done. Of course, basketball involves a lot of running around because after all, that court is pretty big and running back and forth on it dozens of times will definitely get your heart pumping.
Aerobic exercise such as playing basketball can help you burn anywhere from 600 to 900 calories every hour; now that’s a serious number of calories. Burning so many calories will definitely help you lose weight, especially if you haven’t eaten much beforehand.
If you haven’t eaten much your body will need to use your built up fat stores to get the energy it needs to get through an hour-long basketball game, thus helping you lose weight. Moreover, aerobic exercise is also known to stimulate your body’s metabolism, which means that your body becomes more efficient at burning calories and fat.
It goes even further than that because when you go through intense aerobic exercise your EPOC or exercise post oxygen consumption shoots through the roof. This means that you will continue to burn an increased number of calories even after you have stopped playing the game. When it comes to losing weight and getting that toned look you have always wanted, basketball is definitely one of the best options.
Benefit #4: Teaching Self-Discipline
Another big benefit that you can get from playing basketball on the regular is that it will teach you self-discipline, something that is especially important for children to learn at a young age. Self-discipline is a very important thing to master in life because everything from sports to your job and making friends requires a certain degree of self-discipline.
If nobody had self-discipline, the human race as a whole would be a bunch of murdering thieves; it’s that ability to control our impulses. Basketball has a specific set of rules that we have to follow in order to play right and play fair. If we don’t follow those rules, such as not tackling another player or elbowing them in the face, we get a penalty.
Nobody wants to get too many penalties because it makes us look bad, plus it can end up costing us the game. In basketball, there are players, coaches, and referees, all of which enforce rules that we must follow. That instinct to follow rules then transfers over to our daily lives. On a side note, basketball, especially the referees and coaches, also teaches us to have respect for authority, another thing which is crucial in terms of our success in our everyday lives.
Benefit #5: Increasing Cognitive Function
Something else that playing some basketball can help you with is to improve cognitive function as well as your mental reaction time. When you play basketball you have to constantly observe your teammates as well as your opponents so you can react properly in order to play defense and make points. You have to be able to think extremely quickly in order to make passes, catch the ball, shoot the ball, and get rebounds.
You always have to be on the lookout for what is going on in order to react appropriately. Being able to make decisions quickly definitely helps in real life situations because everything you do requires mental function. Things such as taking tests, dealing with your kids, working your job, and a variety of other tasks require quick mental processing, something which basketball can help you improve no doubt.
Benefit #6: Improvement Of Coordination
The next big benefit that you can get from playing some basketball on a regular basis is that it helps to greatly improve coordination. Basketball involves a lot of passing, throwing, catching, running, faking out other players, and shooting the ball in various ways.
Just like with muscles, the more we train all of these things the better we become at them. One of the things that take the most coordination in basketball is dribbling, something which can be pretty darn hard in the beginning, but as you practice it, you get better at it, and after a while, you won’t even have to look at the ball as you do it.
The point is that basketball requires tremendous amounts of hand-eye coordination and that is great because those skills transfer to our everyday lives. Many different tasks in our daily lives require hand-eye coordination and there is no better way to train it than with a really fun game of basketball.
Benefit #7: Improving Your Spatial Awareness
Another big benefit that you can get from playing basketball is the increase of spatial awareness. Being on a basketball court requires spatial awareness because you always need to know where your body is in relation to the ball, the nets, and to other players.
Just like with anything else, the more you play basketball and the more you train, the better your spatial awareness will become over time. This also translates into having better balance, because the more aware you are of your surroundings, the less likely you are to fall and end up on your butt.
Moreover, you have to move quickly in basketball and often you have to change the direction in which you are running, plus you have to move quickly to defend against other players. This need for quick reaction times and fast turnarounds forces your proprioceptors to work quicker, proprioceptors being those things which tell our brains where in space we are, let us know of positional changes, and ultimately help us balance properly.
Benefit #8: It’s A Good Way To Make Friends
We aren’t going to go into great detail about the benefits of team sports, but the fact of the matter is that playing on a team is really beneficial for you. First and foremost, playing on a team helps you make new friends, something which is important because nobody likes to be alone.
If you’re somebody who is inside a lot and does not get much contact with the outside world, you might want to consider joining a basketball team. Moreover, playing on a team helps to teach you valuable social skills, respect, and it can go a long way in boosting confidence too.
Benefit #9: It Can Be A Form Of Strength Training
Another thing that you are going to love about basketball is that it is not only a form of cardiovascular training as well as a weight bearing exercise, but it is also a great way to develop strength in your body. Basketball is a pretty intense sport and the part which helps develop strength is when you play defense.
Playing defense against other players involves a lot of holding your ground and using your arms, legs, core, and back in order to stay in a certain position and keep other players from getting by you. It may not sound that hard, but the process of playing defense, and even offense, will definitely train your muscles to be much stronger. Even things like shooting the ball and dribbling go a long way in strengthening your chest, arms, and fingers too.
Of course having strong muscles is really useful in your everyday life. Everything from picking up your kids, carrying groceries, and holding up your own body weight while you walk requires strong muscles, and basketball is definitely a good way to help you develop them.
Benefit #10: Reducing Stress
The next big benefit that you can get from playing basketball is that it can go a very long way in reducing stress, improving your mood, and dealing with mental issues such as anxiety and depression. All of these things are closely related and it has to do with the way that your brain reacts to physical exercise.
Exercising causes reactions to occur in your brain, mainly the production of neurochemicals, the most important of which is serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that is naturally produced by our brains, more so when we exercise. This chemical makes us feel happy and produces a sense of elation. This increased feeling of happiness can last all day and goes a long way in improving our moods, while at the same time helping us to deal with anxiety and depression too.
If you haven’t already put on your shoes and grabbed a ball, you should probably get around to it sooner rather than later. Basketball is a fantastic sport indeed and the benefits of basketball will have you as healthy as a horse in no time at all. This is a really cool team sport that will help you make friends, keep you on your toes, improve your overall mental function, and it is of course a great way to stay physically fit too.
Any questions or comments you may have are more than welcome!