Will Playing Basketball Help Burn Belly Fat?

Teenage boy on basketball court

It's easy to view basketball as an entertaining sport that you can enjoy with your friends, but don't overlook this sport's fitness benefits. Although basketball might come easier when you're in tip-top shape, it's an ideal activity for those with excess belly fat who want to shed a few pounds. If this person sounds like you, grab a few friends and a ball and hit the court.

Spot Reduction Myth

Although playing basketball will help you burn belly fat, don't get tricked into believing this exercise will specifically target the fat in this area of your body. The theory of spot reduction, which suggests that you can burn fat in a specific part of your body by exercising the nearby muscles, is a weight-loss myth. To lose fat in your belly area, you have to also be losing fat all over.

Calories and Fat

When you're looking for an exercise to adopt to help you lose fat around your midsection and throughout your body, seek an activity that helps you burn calories rapidly, given the connection between calories and fat. To burn off 1 pound of fat, you need to burn 3,500 more calories than you eat and drink, reports MayoClinic.com. Aerobic exercises such as basketball are effective ways to burn calories quickly.

Basketball Calories

You might be concentrating on executing crisp passes and precise shots during your game of basketball, but you're also burning calories at a rapid rate. Harvard Medical School reports that a 185-pound person who plays a game of basketball for just 30 minutes will burn 355 calories. This rate of burning calories makes basketball an activity comparable to cross-country skiing, running at 5 miles per hour, ice hockey and swimming the backstroke. When choosing how much basketball to play each week, consider that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of aerobic exercise weekly for adults.

Belly Fat

Having a bit of a spare tire around your midsection might not seem overly serious, but belly fat, which is a visceral type of fat as opposed to subcutaneous fat, has many health risks. Harvard Medical School warns that visceral fat is associated with such troubling medical conditions as cardiovascular disease, dementia, asthma and even some forms of cancer. The school recommends that the best approach to dealing with visceral fat is to keep active.