Hoops and Health

Between Hoopfest and some amazing local teams (*cough* Gonzaga Basketball), it’s hard not to be a big fan of hoops in our neck of the woods. Not only is it great to watch, but it’s a blast to play. And – whether you are shooting hoops by yourself, playing a pick-up game or are on a competitive team, basketball is an incredible way to stay in shape – and have fun.

5 reasons why basketball is great for your health:

  1. It burns calories:

The obvious reason. Between running, jumping, dribbling and shooting, basketball is a calorie burning powerhouse! According to HealthStatus, a 200lb person burns 408 calories in an hour of shooting baskets, 744 calories in an hour of half-court basketball and 996 calories in an hour of full-court basketball.

  1. It’s great for cardio:

Basketball is an excellent sport in conditioning your cardiovascular system (your heart). It’s also an excellent form of high-intensity interval training. This works only if you are running around a half or full court (obviously full court will be better to get your heart pumping), if you are just shooting around, you may not get as much of a cardio benefit. One added benefit: it’s way more fun than a treadmill.

It helps build motor skills and coordination:

Free-throws, 3-pointers and layups are all incredibly helpful in training your hand-eye coordination and to develop those fine muscle memory skills to become better coordinated. Dribbling is another key ingredient in coordination on the court and helps to develop full-body coordination. Once this skill is mastered, it becomes second nature as a fine motor skill – letting you concentrate on your opponent versus visually making sure the ball is where it should be.

  1. It provides built-in strength training:

Basketball provides an excellent full-body workout and can help to develop lean muscle. Since it’s a physically intensive sport, there is an element of physical resistance training when an opponent may be pushing against you. Strong legs are built by shooting and running. Dribbling and shooting strengthen the arm, wrist and hand.

  1. It reduces stress:

Exercise (basketball included) is considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate. Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.

Overall, basketball is an incredible sport. Whether you have never dribbled in your life or are a pro on the court, you’ll get a great full-body workout from it. Plus, with so many courts around our area, it’s a sport that is accessible to anyone – all you need is a ball.

We’re looking forward to this March Madness season – let’s go Zags!

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