Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world, and we certainly know why! Not only does it get you active, but you can have a lot of fun with it. It’s a sport that will get you social, keep you in shape and keep your body feeling fit.
There’s often the perception that you have to be tall to be good at basketball. But the truth is that it’s not. Whether you want to play competitively or have a bit of fun, anyone with any genetic background or fitness level can pick up the ball and play.
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Although sports such as football, cricket and horse racing are popular in the UAE, basketball is well up there and tremendously popular. What’s great about basketball is that you can play with friends for fun. Or have a workout on your own. All you need is a ball, a hoop and you’re good to go.
Here are a few reasons why playing basketball is good for health.
1. Calorie Burner for Healthy Weight
Basketball gets your whole body moving from head to toes which is why this sport is one of the highest in burning calories for weight loss. It has an abundance of physical motions including running, jumping, twisting and stretching, throwing, pulling and lifting, to name a few.
Basketball can be played at whatever intensity you like. So whether your goal is to lose weight, tone your body, maintain weight or stay healthy, this is the sport for you.
2. Boosts Immune System
Like all other cardio and endurance sports, consistent basketball performed with the correct technique will surely boost your immune system. Your immune system is your body’s defence system that protects it from diseases, illnesses, and other harmful viruses. Having a strong immune system stops us from getting sick and helps us recover quickly when we need to.
3. Develops Mental Strength
Like all other sports, physical movements help the body to release endorphins. This is the hormone that makes you feel good mentally and can decrease stress. Basketball is one of the best sports for this due to its high intensity.
Playing basketball competitively can also help you to become more disciplined, increase your self-esteem and improve your ability to multitask. Professional basketball players don’t just play well because of their physical attributes, but also because of their mental strength.
Developing mental strength doesn’t just improve your game, but can contribute to all other aspects of your life.
4. Improved Bone Strength
Playing basketball will increase mineral production in bones and will result in stronger, healthier and more durable bones. It’s important to have strong bones as it supports muscles, joints, and overall body composition.
Healthy bones also decrease the risk of osteoporosis in the future, a disease that compromises the health and integrity of bones. As basketball requires a lot of body flexing, jumping and stretching, bones will become strengthened. Especially for growing young children, basketball can help with bone development and help them to grow taller and stronger.
5. Better Cardiovascular Strength and Endurance
Basketball will boost your heart rate. Given that you are playing properly, basketball can be seen as the equivalent of an aerobic workout. Not only are you boosting calories, but you’re improving your cardiovascular system as well as your heart health.
This can help you to lower your chances of heart disease or stroke. It also means that you’re conditioning your endurance. The more often you play, the more you’ll notice your body is becoming stronger and your energy tank will be boosted.
6. Muscle Gains
Not only does basketball help you to improve your cardiovascular system and burn calories to shred fat, but it can also help in the development of muscles. Ball handling, hard-throwing, squatting, jumping and shooting will help your muscles to grow and strengthen.
All the muscles in your body are active when playing basketball. From biceps, triceps, forearms, chest, laterals to your lower body, including calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings. This can also help to improve the health of your joints.
7. Improves Your Social Life
Basketball is the perfect sport to make friends as well as getting active. Basketball is a team sport, and so you’ll be required to improve your communication skills as well as your ability to work in a team with others. Basketball is great for the elderly, young children and everyone in-between as it encourages you to make friends as well as have a good time.
Keep in Mind
- As basketball puts a lot of pressure on your bones, joints and muscle tendons, always be sure to stretch. Take 10-15 minutes to warm up.
- Go for a light jog and/or practise stretching exercises.
- Try to warm up and cool down with stretching before and after basketball. Though it can be a tedious and boring process, it’s better to play it safe than sorry.
- Basketball can be played at a high intensity or a low intensity. The choice is yours. But keep in mind that if you have had a recent injury, try to take it slow.
- Basketball demands a lot of strength in your legs and joints. By training too hard, you can risk injuring yourself, especially if it’s a recurring one.
- If you are recovering from a recent injury, it’s best to speak with your doctor or physician on how to ease in back to your exercise routine.
Be mindful of where you play ball. There are a lot of basketball facilities around the UAE. Try to stay clear of busy roads, and/or places with a lot of foot traffic. Especially when children are playing, always ensure you find a safe spot for them.
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