Health Benefits of Playing Basketball
Basketball is one of the more popular sports around the world, even more so with the NBA Finals having kicked off this week. It’s been a grueling season, given the fact that the players have had to keep up appearances amid the ongoing pandemic. But the league has been able to give us another finals series despite the challenges.
This year’s finals will be a bit different as the finalists, the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks, haven’t been here in a very long time. Where NBA odds are concerned, the Suns went into the finals as favorites, led by the likes of veteran point guard Chris Paul and one of the NBA’s most potent scorers in Devin Booker.
The Bucks managed to make it past the Atlanta Hawks in seven games, with Khris Middleton firing them through bereft of two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is dealing with a knee injury. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.
To take this to a personal level, basketball is played by amateurs worldwide and is one of the sports which could leave one in the best shape. It would be remiss of us not to point out that it’s also one of the riskiest sports in terms of injuries. Given that there’s a lot of contact and jumping involved, it’s very easy to get hurt while playing basketball.
In spite of this, basketball remains a favorite and delivers plenty of health benefits.
Playing basketball could be very good for your heart as there’s non-stop running involved. There’s hardly any time to stand or walk around unless you’re on the bench. The constant movement keeps the body working harder and improves one’s resting heart rate; it’s as good as any cardiovascular exercise out there, and some. Not only do you have to run around for the duration of a game, as mentioned above, there’s a lot of jumping involved. There’s little chance of not breaking a sweat when playing basketball, even if you’re playing by yourself.
Another advantage of all of the cardio involved is weight loss and maintenance. Of course, one’s diet has a very important role to play but, if you play basketball regularly, you’re already doing half of the work. The sport is great for losing weight as you’d burn several hundred calories playing for an hour or so every day.
Basketball does prompt folks to hit the gym too as everyone loves having the upper hand in anything they participate in. If you couple basketball with regular gym sessions, you’d really have to struggle not to be fit. Apart from the weight aspect, your muscle tone and bone density should undergo improvement, whether or not you hit the gym.
“A lot of people don’t realize that you use a lot of upper body – your shoulders especially – while jumping,” Indian professional Arvind Krishna advises. “It is important to strengthen it for that as well as to get past defenders. I do a lot of pike push-ups and pull-ups. I usually do 100 of each during my upper body workouts with skipping in between every set.”
You have to employ most of your muscles while playing basketball so it could leave you in much better shape after a few months. If you take basketball more seriously than most, you’d likely pay extra attention to training and various other workouts that will go a long way in aiding your game.
There are a number of very beneficial exercises which could be found online. Calf raises, box jumps, lateral jumps, and Romanian Deadlifts are among the best workouts you could do.
As mentioned above, the chances of getting injured are high due to the physicality of the sport. To that end, it’s worth doing as much as you can to prevent injury. There’s little fitness to be gained while sitting around with a sprained ankle or hyperextended knee.
One of the most important things you could do is to wear proper sneakers. The best basketball sneakers could be pretty pricey but it’s better spending money on shoes than on X-rays, right? You could find advice on picking the best sneaker right here.
Stretching and warmups are also very important. Professionals don’t just jump into a game and neither should you. Teams spend lots of time getting their athletes properly stretched before games as it really helps prevent injury. If you could find 10-15 minutes to stretch before playing, then do that. Using a foam roller to further loosen up your muscles is also worth doing.
It should go without saying, but be careful while playing. Try your best to protect yourself and your opponent. If you aren’t getting paid to play, don’t put yourself in harm’s way by taking on charges or driving for loose balls.
All in all, basketball is a pretty great sport with plenty of health benefits. Just ensure to protect yourself at all times.
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