Whether you are a sports professional like Peter Benedict St Andrews or a weekend warrior, you probably already know that there are many benefits that come with playing sports. While this applies to all sports, basketball in particular offers many advantages because of its fast-paced and energetic nature. Here are just some of the benefits that you get every time you spend a few hours on the court.
It can help you to keep to a healthy weight
Basketball is a game that rarely allows players to stand still for more than a moment, and especially if you are playing without a fast schedule of rotations, you can find yourself on the go for much of the game. Between running, jumping and blocking you can expect to torch several hundred calories. An hour of basketball a few times a week can go a long way towards helping to keep your waistline in check. An added benefit is that this level of activity is a forms of aerobic exercise that can contribute to the development of strong cardiovascular health.
It can help you to build strong muscles and bones
Although the basketball itself is not particularly heavy, don’t underestimate the positive effect that this game can have on the development of strength. Many of the core skills required in a game involve plyometric movements. These are explosive bursts of energy (think “burpee training”) which contribute to the development of fast twitch fibers needed for speed and power. The nature of the game, with its rapid stops, starts, jumps and changes of direction also helps to support the development of strong, dense bones.
It can help you to reduce stress
There are many ways that sports in general can contribute to reduced levels of stress. In a very basic way, it can help you to avoid dwelling or “ruminating” on problems or anxieties because the nature of basketball requires constant focused attention. It is also well known that exertion in sports can result in the release of endorphins which contribute to a sense of well-being and happiness – this is the source of the “runner’s high” that you may have heard about. Another way that basketball can help to reduce stress is related to the fact that as a team sport it is highly social. Not simply the act of getting together with friends (which is itself beneficial), but the act of participating in a shared undertaking with others can contribute in significant ways to mental well-being. Scientists have long understood that the feeling of being connected to others and part of a larger whole is a key way to stave off anxiety, depression and stress.
These are just some of the many mental, physical and social benefits that come with playing basketball – or any sport – on a regular basis. You are guaranteed to feel better if you integrate a game of basketball into your healthy lifestyle!