With college hoops in full swing, it’s likely you’ve had a chance to see the incredible conditioning the athletes on the court possess. Coordination, stamina, speed – it seems they have it all, and for those who aspire to get in better shape, their in-game feats serve as inspiration to strive for a similar level of physical prowess.

While the odds of you developing NCAA-level basketball skills are debatable, there’s no doubt that adding a few weekly hoop sessions to your workout routine will benefit your overall health. Read on as we discuss the positive effects of hitting the court and the best way for you to incorporate this fun form of exercise into your regimen.

basketball sports cardio workout exercise

The Health Benefits of Basketball

It’s no secret that basketball is good for the body. Shape has gone on at length as to why it’s the best workout ever, citing the game as a “total body workout” that incorporates cardiovascular exercise, plyometrics and strength to play. Better Health Channel elaborates, listing five key areas in which playing basketball can help boost fitness:

  • It burns calories. The running, jumping and quick movements involved in the game provide a form of aerobic exercise.
  • It builds endurance. The intense movements keep your heart rate up and help build cardiovascular stamina.
    It improves balance and coordination. Shooting, handling the ball, passing and other basketball skills require keen hand-eye coordination.
  • It develops concentration and self-discipline. There’s a mental component to basketball as well. Learning the complexities of the game helps to keep you sharp.
  • It builds muscle. Traversing the court, shooting the ball, dribbling and playing effective defense help improve physical strength and lean muscle.

They state that an hour of a normal-paced ball game can burn 630-750 calories, and, additionally, basketball is a near-perfect workout, since it can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels, played year-round (since it’s an outdoor and indoor sport), and practiced alone (meaning you can have at it any time you like). All you need to do to reap the benefits is start playing.

basketball sports cardio workout exercise

Adding Basketball to Your Workouts

There are a couple of ways to go about this, but they all start with properly preparing yourself. For the older adult crowd, be sure to check with your doctor before adding basketball to your routine. It’s a fast-paced game, and there’s plenty of running and jumping involved, which could in turn put strain on your joints and stress on your legs.

You’ll also want to be sure to get the proper gear. Hi-top basketball shoes are the traditional choice, as they provide a great deal of ankle support, but comfort should be king when selecting your preferred footwear. Your shorts and jersey should be loose-fitting, allowing for unhindered movement and full range of motion. You might also want to invest in some after-workout extras like body cleanser and a good shampoo to keep yourself fresh after your rigorous sessions.

With your preparations complete, grab some buddies and hit the court. You might not have enough for a full five-on-five match-up, but even a two-on-two or one-on-one game is enough to build up a sweat. If you can’t put together a squad, though, there are still ways to add some basketball-inspired drills to your workout. Be sure to check out this 45-minute basketball workout as an example, pay special attention to the exercises you can perform solo, and start upping your cardio game with a few weekly visits to your local court or rec center.