When you start playing basketball, especially when really young, the fitness aspect of the sport is probably not the ultimate goal. Yes, basketball is fun and a great way to make friends, but if you start feeling the effect of the fries and soda tugging on the belly part of your favorite shirt, losing weight may now be the primary objective. Really, though, can basketball help you lose weight?
Is Playing Basketball an Effective Way to Lose Weight?
The rule of thumb is if anything makes you pant and lose breath, that’s probably going to help you lose weight. Basketball is physically demanding; all that jogging, sprinting, jumping, and banging makes you sweat, hence the calorie-burning.
Of course, burning calories is not the sole instigator of weight loss. Even if you do play basketball, burn some, and eat twice the amount you burnt, that won’t matter. While basketball CAN help you lose weight and be in shape, you have to tweak and adjust your diet to keep the weight off.
To put it in a pure weight loss perspective, playing basketball to lose weight is probably not the most effective way to do it. This is especially true for people who hate running and aren’t really into sports. You actually spend time learning the sport before you even gain the health benefits. If you are one of those, there are more efficient ways to shed off pounds. However, if you already know how to play basketball, then it could be a very effective weight-loss aid in addition to proven techniques.
How Can Basketball Help You Lose Weight?
Playing basketball is challenging and exhausting. It demands all of your stamina and energy. According to different studies, there could be anywhere from 240 to 350 calories burned playing basketball. And that depends on one’s body weight. The heavier you are, you’d require more energy to function, and you end up burning more calories.
So, how do you play basketball to lose weight? Well, if you’re like me, doing things as a group is a much more fun way than doing it alone. Basketball is the same way. Playing alone requires less thinking, less running, less dribbling, and fewer physical requirements overall.
Now, playing with a couple of friends, or even better, a fullcourt, 5-on-5 with other people is another story. You get to run up and down 94 feet of court, you chase people around, and you won’t ever think of slowing down (unless you’re out of breath, of course).
It is advisable if you play in 30-minute bursts. If you’re out of the game for long and not in shape, you should go for a shorter time. Also, be sure to warm up and stretch before the game to improve flexibility and prevent injuries.
How Many Calories Does a Game of Basketball Burn?
Human bodies do not react the exact same way under similar circumstances. Therefore, scientists and researchers could not put a fixed number on the exact amount of calories burned playing basketball.
But for reference, let’s consider one study done at Harvard Medical School. The study indicates that a 155-pound person (70.3 kilograms) running at an average of 7.5 mph burns about 450 calories after 30 minutes of playing basketball. The number of calories increases if the person playing is heavier and lowers depending on the amount of activity you put in the court.
Pro basketball players unsurprisingly burn more calories than most of us who play for recreation. They are literally the best and most fine-tuned athletes in the world that an average person just could not keep up with their intensity and activity. According to one observation, NBA players may burn up to 1,500 calories in 30 minutes of game time!
Aside from a person’s weight, the type of basketball game you’re playing also impacts how many calories you’ll burn. If you’re doing simple shootaround shots, the baseline for a 150-pound man is around 270 calories burned for 60 minutes. If you play 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 basketball in a half-court setting, the burned calories increase to about 390. When playing full-court, that goes to as high as 570 calories.
Why is there such a difference in burned calories when you factor in the weight and type of basketball game? Well, heavier people need a lot more energy to execute basketball moves and therefore burn more calories. Additionally, the type of game you play directly affects the effort you put forth in playing the game. Full-court games require you to run 94 feet, and that is why you will burn more calories playing it than half-court basketball.
How Many Pounds Can You Lose When You Play Basketball?
In weight loss circles, there is a theory called “calorie deficit.” In simple terms, a calorie deficit requires you to burn more calories in a day than you take in.
Using that theory, let’s say a basketball player burns 250 calories a day and also makes that amount the deficit. That means, for example, the man eats 1,500 calories a day and burns 1,750. In a span of a month, he will lose a kilogram of weight if he keeps that up, according to the “calorie deficit” theory.
How Long Do You Have to Play Basketball to Lose Weight?
Thirty minutes of playing time in basketball are enough time to feel the heat. Work your way up to an hour, and the weight loss effects will be more apparent (provided you are also making dietary tweaks).
Can basketball help you lose weight quickly? Sure, it can! If you are playing basketball to lose weight, the best way to do it is to increase the intensity while you are playing. Understandably, not everybody has a Dennis Rodman-like motor, but if weight loss is the primary goal, you have to consciously do more on the basketball court.
What, exactly, is doing more? To put it in laymen’s terms, be quick and do things that require sudden and intense movements. For example, if the other team gets the rebound and runs to their side of the court, run the whole 94 feet. It doesn’t matter if you keep up or not; just do it.
Other intense basketball moves that you can do are boxing out opponents, trying to block opponents’ shots, and boxing out for a better rebounding position. If you do all these things, you won’t just have a cardio workout, you’ll sneak in some high-intensity training in there.
5 Basketball Drills to Lose Weight
Running is generally considered the best calorie-burning exercise. That’s why if you’re into calorie deficits, running is imperative. Now, if you’re considering playing basketball to lose weight, make sure you maximize that workout by doing basketball running drills. Here are some of them:
Suicides is an intense running drill used by various sports but often done on a basketball court. The lines on the basketball court make this drill very handy.
The procedure is so simple it belies the hell one goes through in doing the drill. First, choose a starting spot, perhaps the one baseline. Second, sprint to the free-throw line, touch it, then return to the starting spot. Then, sprint to the three-point line and then back, and so forth. Work your way to the other baseline and back to the starting spot.
2. Basic Running Drill
This drill is exactly what it sounds– basic. All you have to do is find out how many times you can get from baseline to baseline in one minute. It’s not as exhausting and exciting as suicides, but it’s also fun breaking your own record.
3. Full Court Sprint
A full-court sprint is a drill repeated five times from baseline to baseline. It’s a good level up to the basic running drill and builds up your stamina really fast.
4. Full Court Layup
This drill is an excellent way to clean up different parts of your game– the fastbreak, finishing layups with both hands, and stamina. Here’s how you do it: Run to the opposite court and finish with a layup using one hand. Go back to the other basket and score a layup, this time using the other hand. Do this for two minutes straight and you’ll become a fastbreak machine in no time.
5. Jump and Reach
The jump and reach drill is merely practicing how to jump explosively. Like any other skill, jumping high is also practiced. Properly position yourself before the jump, feet shoulder-width apart. Squat and bend slightly and bring your hips and arms back as you being your explosive jump. The focus is to get up as high as you can and then explode back up as soon as you land. Increase the repetitions as you become more fit and explosive
More Tips When Playing Basketball
If you’re looking to play basketball to lose weight, it’s crucial to plan before going all in. While basketball is fun and all, it’s a contact sport that may hurt you and can cause numerous injuries if you’re not careful. To prevent that from happening, consider these tips when playing basketball:
- Pacing. Even NBA players learn when to take their foot off the gas pedal when they have to. If you’re a recreational player, all the more so. Going 0 to 100 in a couple of minutes is only going to wear you out. Besides, if weight loss is the goal, doing too much in too little time is a recipe for disaster.
- Take a needed break. If you’re new to the game or just got back, taking a breather once in a while helps you last longer. NBA superstars take a breather for an average of 8 to 10 minutes of game time, and so should you.
- Warm up and stretch. Soreness and injuries do happen when you play intense basketball. An excellent way to lessen or prevent his is to warm up and stretch. All of your muscle groups need to be loose because, if not, basketball movements could easily lead to sprains, strains, and hyperextensions.
- Hydrate. Speaking of injuries, cramps are not the most serious, but they are nasty as hell. Anyone who experienced one will tell you that. If you get cramps, you won’t be able to play, and you won’t be able to burn calories.
- Rest. As much as you want to prevent injuries, they do happen every now and then. Freak accidents like stepping on someone’s foot or hyperextending the knee upon landing are some of the most common injuries. If they happen, the best way is to take a rest and give it a go once you are 100%. Don’t Mamba Mentality your way through an injury; Kobe Bryant was paid millions while we commoners had to pay the mortgage.
Wrapping Things Up: Can Basketball Help You Lose Weight?
If you are genuinely wondering if basketball helps you lose weight, it does. However, it may not be the most efficient way to lose weight, and it’s not for everybody. If you want to get the most weight-loss benefits out of playing basketball, you need to learn the game if you’re a beginner. That takes time. Worse, if you’re not into running and banging into people, it’s definitely not for you.
But let’s say you are really committed to playing basketball to lose weight. You may have done it before and are looking to do it again. It’s a remarkable way to put in a high-intensity workout with aerobic training. Studies have shown that playing basketball for half an hour could burn anywhere from 274 calories to over 500. The results depend on factors such as body weight and the type of basketball game you are playing.
Here’s the deal: To maximize weight loss when playing basketball, you want to play a full-court game, so you have more distance to cover, and you must be ready to execute the high-intensity moves. High-intensity moves include boxing out or chasing somebody around the court. To put it simply, do you expect to burn calories spending half the time jogging or watching opponents grabbing rebounds without resistance? Absolutely not!
Of course, aside from giving your all in the workout sport of choice, you also have to do other things. A basketball diet plan to lose weight doesn’t hurt. Burning more calories than you eat is one trick that you can try. In weight loss circles, that is known as the calorie deficit. It may not be effective for some, but it’s definitely worth trying to keep in shape.
The next time somebody asks you, “can basketball help you lose weight,” the answer is pretty straightforward. It’s a yes, but it’s not a miracle pill at the same time. You may count all the calories burned playing basketball, but it’s not going to do a lick if there are no dietary changes. Play basketball with the right intensity coupled with lifestyle changes, and you will get to your goal weight at some point.
Did you find this helpful? Then also check out other basketball FAQ articles here.