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Importance of Playing Basketball
For many people, playing a game of basketball is a fun and effective form of exercise. While other vigorous aerobic activities offer some of the same cardiovascular health, mental health, and physical fitness benefits, the additional advantages basketball offers makes it an enjoyable and even important part of their lifestyles.
If you’ve never played basketball before, consider joining a recreational team or inviting a few friends out to a public park with a basketball court for a quick game.
Physical Benefits of Playing Basketball
Basketball develops physical fitness, as many sports do. However, the intense, fast-paced action of a typical basketball game simultaneously develops speed, hand-eye coordination and cardiovascular endurance in a way that sports such as baseball and softball might not.
Moving quickly back and forth across the court gets your heart rate up and develops lower-body fitness and bone strength, while shooting, defending and passing develop upper-body fitness. Overall, the heart health benefits of playing basketball might be the biggest benefits of all, as being active can help prevent certain heart disease or other cardiovascular disease.
Playing basketball is an effective way to control your weight, and can be really effective for anybody on a weight loss journey because of how quickly you can burn calories while playing and building endurance.
A person who weighs 170 lbs. burns 617 calories playing a basketball game for an hour, according to the American Council on Exercise. Even if you don’t participate in a full-court basketball game, you still can burn significant calories playing basketball. For example, a 170-lb. person who practices shooting the ball for an hour burns 347 calories.
Another positive effect of playing basketball is that it can provide stress relief. If you play a casual game with other basketball players, the teamwork, camaraderie, and competition will be a welcome distraction from your daily stresses.
Other sports also might relax you, but unwinding with basketball doesn’t require you to be a top NBA athlete or collect a large group of people to play. Just taking practice shots by yourself, rebounding for yourself, and dribbling around at a local court gives you something constructive to focus on that has nothing to do with your hectic life.
Another one of the health benefits of playing basketball has to do with your social life. Culturally, basketball is an important team sport in the United States.
For youths, playing basketball from young ages to the high school level is a healthy way to imitate their athletic heroes while also getting an awesome full-body workout in. For older individuals, playing basketball offers a way to engage in fun competition while getting regular, vigorous exercise and partaking in some kind of physical activity.
Basketball also provides constant social interaction and helps you work on communication skills, self-discipline, self-esteem, self-confidence, and decision-making, all of which benefit young and old players alike. Other sports, such as baseball, softball and soccer, often force players to maintain distant positions for long periods.
Stan Mack is a business writer specializing in finance, business ethics and human resources. His work has appeared in the online editions of the "Houston Chronicle" and "USA Today," among other outlets. Mack studied philosophy and economics at the University of Memphis.