Even though many younger players play basketball to hopefully become professionals or, at the very least, earn a college scholarship, there is more to just earning money or a degree when it comes to this sport. Basketball is not merely a means to an end because there are plenty of benefits you can get from playing this sport recreationally. But what are some of the physical benefits of playing basketball?
Why Is Basketball Considered as a Recreational Sport?
One of the things that basketball players often hear from their childhood days up to adulthood is that the chance of becoming a professional tends to be slim, even for the most talented players. Indeed, some people view basketball and other sports as means of earning money in the future. Still, there is more to basketball than just becoming a professional or earning a college scholarship.
Basketball, at its core, was invented by Dr. James Naismith as a means for younger people to have something to do with their spare time. In that sense, basketball is often viewed as a game you play for recreational purposes. But why is basketball considered a recreational sport?
When we talk about recreational sports, these are not sports that you play to have fun and something to do with your spare time. Recreational sports may be for recreational purposes or participation, but you also play such sports for improved physical fitness, fun, and social involvement.
While basketball is a sport for fun and social involvement, what truly makes it a recreational sport is that it has a lot of different physical benefits. Basketball is a very physical and demanding sport that requires constant movement. The running, jumping, shooting, and passing that players do when playing basketball are beneficial to a person’s overall physical well-being because this sport is a form of exercise. Of course, we know too well that activities that increase the heart rate while allowing different muscle groups to work have long-term health benefits.
At its core, basketball was not invented as a means of making money. Instead, it was developed as a game that the youth could play to move their bodies and exercise. This is why there are plenty of benefits of basketball for the youth and why this sport is often considered a recreational sport regardless of whether a person plays it to earn money or earn a college scholarship.
How Basketball Helps In Improving Physical Health
Of course, even though basketball has plenty of benefits other than improving a person’s physical health, it still is a recreational sport. That means that physical improvement is still one of its core benefits. But how does basketball help in improving physical health?
1. Stronger muscles
The fact that basketball requires plenty of different muscles to work allows players to build some of the most important muscles early on. You will notice that younger children that play basketball a lot tend to have stronger and more well-defined muscles than those who do not play sports. Of course, adult basketball players also have well-trained muscles compared to other adults who live sedentary lifestyles.
2. Better muscle endurance
Another benefit that makes basketball excellent at improving physical health is that it helps build muscle endurance. Basketball requires your muscles to be strong and to be able to handle longer durations of constant quick and sudden movements. This can have long-term benefits that can help improve a person’s quality of life. Imagine yourself reaching the age of 60 without feeling tired when hiking or even strolling in the mall.
3. Stronger bones
Bones are living tissues that will change and improve in response to the force exerted on them. Having your bones undergo periods of stress, such as when you are running and performing different exercises, will allow them to grow and improve, just like how your muscles need to develop after stress. Because playing basketball puts pressure and stress on your bones, your bones will grow to become stronger and denser in response. Having stronger bones early on can help keep bone diseases at bay when you get to an older age.
4. Improved coordination
Playing basketball requires different body parts and muscles to work in conjunction with one another. Something as simple as running already requires different muscle groups and joints to work. Of course, activities such as passing and shooting will require your muscles to work in conjunction with your eyes. Such movements will improve a player’s coordination.
5. Boosted cardiovascular health
Any physical activity that can boost the heart rate can help improve a person’s cardiovascular health. The heart is a muscle that will also grow and develop in response to stress. So, when you are exerting yourself when playing basketball, you will also improve your cardiovascular health, which is tied to many different benefits, such as improved stamina and a better overall quality of life.
6. Better movement skills
The different movements required when you are playing basketball also contribute to better movement skills. Basketball is a sport that involves plenty of different muscular movements that can help develop flexibility and range of motion. On top of that, it improves a child’s speed, agility, and strength early on.
7. Changes body composition
Body composition is related to how much body fat a person has. Having a higher body fat composition has never been healthy. However, playing basketball has been proven to be effective at lowering body fat composition while also improving the overall fitness level of any player. This is due to how the constant movements are useful at burning excess calories stored as fat. On top of that, basketball improves muscle size and strength and bone density also plays a role in lowering a person’s overall body fat composition.
Other Benefits of Playing Basketball
Aside from having physical benefits that can improve a person’s overall physical health, basketball can also affect a person both emotionally and socially in ways that can be pretty surprising. Now, let us look at some of the benefits of playing basketball.
1. Emotional benefits
One of the more beneficial yet surprising effects of basketball on a person’s emotional health. But what are the emotional benefits of basketball to any player? Several benefits have been proven to be connected to a person’s overall emotional health.
First of all, basketball can help improve a player’s self-confidence. You need to have a certain level of self-confidence to play basketball effectively because certain aspects such as taking shots and communicating with teammates help build self-confidence. As simple as they may be, those activities are already enough to help make players more confident in themselves, as they become more confident in their abilities and decision-making skills.
Another emotional benefit of playing basketball is it lowers stress levels. Any kind of physical activity helps facilitate the release of endorphins, often called “happy hormones” because they tend to boost a person’s mood and confidence while promoting relaxation. At its core, basketball is a physical activity that increases endorphins and keeps stress levels low. That is why plenty of players play basketball when they want to unwind and de-stress.
2. Social benefits
Basketball is also a sport that has a few social benefits. This goes back to the nature of basketball as a team sport that requires every player to engage with their teammates to help improve the overall performance of the entire team.
The fact that basketball is a team sport allows a player’s sense of camaraderie and team spirit to grow. Basketball requires a player to interact and socialize with different teammates coming from different backgrounds. This does not only happen on the court but off of it as well. As such, basketball can help make a person see different perspectives and have various points of view on a social level.
Communication is also a key factor in basketball. Players are often taught as early as possible to communicate with one another through words and with actions and different social cues. Communication on the court often starts by talking to teammates and coming up with strategies and plays. However, it can eventually reach a point where eye contact is all that the players need to understand one another when playing basketball. But the fact is that basketball will help develop these communication skills by incorporating different modes of communication.
Wrapping Things Up: What are Some of the Physical Benefits of Playing Basketball?
All that said, basketball as a recreational activity has always been beneficial to the overall physical health of any person. Physical improvement was always the core intention of Dr. Naismith when he invented the game. After all, basketball is one of the few sports capable of working the entire body hard enough to improve physical fitness, strength, coordination, and endurance without putting a ton of stress on the body. This is why the benefits of basketball for the youth are always brought up when coaches urge parents to allow their children to learn and play basketball.