Is Basketball Really that Good for Your Cardio?

Not only does basketball offer cardiovascular activity and strength exercise, but it also offers a physical and social outlet for people of all ages. As you become older, finding the time to exercise can become exponentially harder when work, family, and other obligations come into play. While doing a solitary workout at the gym can offer the opportunity to increase your fitness, team sports allow you to socialize with old and new friends while also maintaining an active life.

Is Basketball Good For Cardio?

If you are playing a full-court basketball game, you can expect to burn upwards of 800 calories per hour which is far more than you are likely to burn at the gym or working out at home. Basketball is the ultimate workout because it combines cardiovascular exercise by running up and down the court with plyometrics or jump training with stretching and strength training through repetitive jumping. Whether you are cutting to the basket for a quick layup like Kyrie Irving, setting picks and rolling to the hoop like Joel Embiid, or elevating off the ground for a long three-pointer like Steph Curry, basketball for a workout offers a myriad of opportunities to burn fat, improve your fitness, and gain strength.

Basketball for a workout really sings as a natural high-intensity interval training circuit. Repeatedly running both sides of the court with limited breaks in activity is shown to burn more calories while improving endurance in a short time period. Given the intensity that basketball is played with and the potential for injury, it’s likely that you’ll want to limit your games to once or twice per week, but even just playing a couple of times a week is sure to offer numerous benefits that you’ll get to enjoy for years to come.

Another benefit of basketball outside of the cardio activity is the camaraderie you develop with your teammates, which can pay dividends in your personal life and even at work. Learning to play nice with others, passing the ball when in trouble, and creating your shot directly translate to skills in the workplace, such as being a good coworker, learning to delegate, and standing up for yourself when necessary.

In conclusion, basketball is on a level by itself when it comes to cardiovascular and strength training exercise. Check out your local YMCA, high school gym, or talk to your friends to find out when the next pickup game is in your area.