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How Much Weight Can You Lose Playing Volleyball?
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The amount of weight you can lose during any exercise depends on your body weight and the intensity of your exercise. Many studies, though, have investigated how much weight you can lose via various exercises. Runners burn more weight than walkers because running is more intense than walking. Similarly, you are more likely to lose more weight playing beach volleyball than indoor volleyball because beach volleyball requires more running and is a more intense exercise.
Competitive Indoor Volleyball
The first volleyball game was played in 1895, and for decades, it was strictly an indoor sport. Indoor volleyball is a game between two teams on opposite sides of a net. The six players on each team are restricted to their side of the net, an area that is 9-by-9 m, or approximately 29.5-by-29.4 feet. There is relatively little running because each side of a volleyball court is about one-fifth as large as a basketball court. However, competitive volleyball players burn a lot of calories by hitting the ball very hard. A study published by the "Harvard Heart Letter" concluded that the average 155-lb. person burns 298 calories per hour playing competitive indoor volleyball. This is approximately one-twelfth of a pound because 3,500 calories equals 1 lb. A 185-lb. person burns 356 calories per hour.
Many volleyball games aren't competitive. Recreational volleyball can be played outside as well as inside and is often a coed sport that is played at local recreational centers, parties and picnics. Recreational volleyball players are less skilled than competitive volleyball players at hitting the ball so hard that their opponents can't hit the ball back over the net. Consequently, they burn fewer calories. A 155-lb. person playing recreational volleyball burns 224 calories per hour, according to the "Harvard Heart Letter." This is approximately one-sixteenth of one pound. Thus, a recreational volleyball player needs to play the sport about 16 hours to lose one pound. A 185-lb. person playing recreational volleyball burns 266 calories per hour.
The first beach volleyball game was played in 1915. Each team has only two players, but they are playing on a court that is only slightly smaller than an indoor volleyball court -- 8-by-8 m, or about 26-by-26 feet. Thus, beach volleyball players run far more than indoor volleyball players and exercise more intensely. This intensity is reflected in weight-loss studies of exercises. The "Harvard Heart Letter" reports that a 155-lb. person burns 596 calories or about one-sixth of one pound one hour. A 185-lb. person burns 710 calories each hour.
Beach volleyball players burn the same amount of calories as cross-country skiers, rock climbers, people who swim the backstroke, people running 5 mph or bicycling 12 to 13.9 mph, field hockey players, ice hockey players, basketball players and touch football players. Competitive indoor volleyball players lose the same amount of weight as people walking 3.5 mph, gymnasts, curlers and horseback riders.
Jay Schwartz has had articles printed by the "Chicago Tribune," "USA Today" and many other publications since 1983. He's covered health, fitness, nutrition, business, real estate, government, features, sports and more. A Lafayette, Pa. college graduate, he's also written for several Fortune 500 corporate publications and produced business newsletters.