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Basketball has always been an entertaining sport throughout the years, and it is also an outstanding form of exercise. Players from the NBA are some of the fittest people on the planet, and playing basketball consistently maintains their toned bodies and incredible athleticism. As shown by these professionals, basketball helps with cardiovascular health, strength, and even mental health by engaging both the body and mind in a fast-paced and enjoyable sport.

The first image that comes to mind of basketball is of players running down the court. Basketball players pride themselves on their ability to go from walking to sprinting almost instantly. This mirrors HIIT cardio, which stands for high intensity interval training.  HIIT cardio is one of the best forms of cardio due to the fact that you burn a substantial amount of calories both during the exercise and after as well. Even if you are unable to play with other people, you can work on cardio by simply shooting the basketball. Believe it or not, merely working on your shot can burn around 300 calories per hour!

On a good day grab some friends and head to a nearby park to play some basketball!

Image Source: jefffarsai

Not only does basketball provide cardiovascular exercise, it also increases overall strength. Sprinting and shooting a basketball requires activation of the legs, and defending or rebounding over someone engages the upper body. Basketball is a game based around jumping. You have to jump to rebound, shoot, or block. With all this jumping, you are consistently using your calves and hamstrings. Dribbling and shooting the basketball also help your upper body grow, particularly the deltoids and triceps. Putting a couple hours into basketball a week will definitely improve overall strength!

When you go in for a layup or dunk, you are actually channeling every muscle in the body from your legs to your arms.

Image Source: Stanislaw Pytel 

Those who play basketball also fortify their mental health, as basketball is just as mentally demanding as it is physical. When playing with others, the decisions you make drastically alter the game, and it is inevitable to make mistakes. However, many people develop bad mental health habits by dwelling on those mistakes. The fast pace of basketball forces players to reassess mistakes instead of ruminating on them, allowing them to continually improve. As a result, an increase in skill correlates with increased confidence.

Basketball truly is a magnificent sport not only to watch, but also to play yourself – the physical and mental health benefits from the sport are second to none. After playing basketball a couple of times a weekyou will definitely start to show signs of physical growth as well as a better mindset, all while having tons of fun!

Feature Image Source: basketball by Chilli Head

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