Why Is Volleyball Considered to Be Such a Good Aerobic Exercise?
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Aerobic exercise, also known as cardiovascular exercise, is activity that increases your heart rate and uses the same large muscle group for 15 to 20 minutes or longer. Volleyball is considered a good aerobic exercise because you’re on your feet while playing, you’re working the same large muscle groups for more than 20-minute intervals and you have the opportunity to maintain 60 to 80 percent of your target heart rate.
The goal of volleyball is to keep the ball in motion from one side of the net to the other without the ball hitting the ground. This volley is begun when a server hits the ball over the net. If the ball hits the ground, the team that did not drop the ball gets a point and is awarded the serve for the next volley. Each time a team wins a serve, the players rotate in a clockwise manner. The first team with 25 points wins the game. A volleyball match can last 30 to 45 minutes and requires constant movement on your feet and lots of energy. Playing volleyball targets the muscles in your legs, hips, back and shoulders.
One of the top benefits of aerobic exercise is burning calories, which can reduce your weight and prevent obesity. Obesity has been linked to dangerously chronic illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In order to lose 1 lb. a week, you need to burn an average of 500 calories a day. MayoClinic.com reports that if you weigh 160 lbs. and play volleyball for one hour, you burn about 292 calories. If you weigh 200 lbs., playing volleyball for one hour burns 364 calories and 436 calories for those who weigh 240 lbs.
The American College of Sports Medicine suggests getting 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise five days a week just to maintain your current weight and reduce your risk for developing chronic illnesses. A moderately intense workout involves working out hard enough to break a sweat while still being able to hold a conversation and increasing your heart rate. Volleyball fits into this category. The ACSM suggests doing aerobic activity for 60 to 90 minutes if your goal is to lose weight.
Lisa Balbach, a fitness expert from Kirtland Community College and author of the Health and Fitness Page website, reports that cardiovascular activity can improve your heart health, improve your energy and stamina, reduce fatigue, tone muscles and increase lean body mass. Aerobic activities like volleyball also have mental health benefits. According to a 2005 study out of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil that was published in the journal “Clinics,” physical activity is an important tool used in the treatment and prevention of some psychiatric diseases, including depression and anxiety.
Shannon Marks started her journalism career in 1994. She was a reporter at the "Beachcomber" in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and contributed to "Philadelphia Weekly." Marks also served as a research editor, reporter and contributing writer at lifestyle, travel and entertainment magazines in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Temple University.