Health Benefits of Basketball

Medically Reviewed by Ross Brakeville, DPT on June 18, 2023
4 min read

‌Basketball is a sport that is loved and enjoyed by people all over the world. In 2019, The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) said that basketball had 450 million players and fans globally. The sport has two teams with five players who each compete to score points by pushing a ball down a hoop placed 10 feet off the ground.  

Because basketball doesn’t need much equipment and can be set up easily anywhere, it can be played both indoors and outdoors.  Also, you can get started with basketball as a team of one or even two people. ‌ 

Basketball is a lot more than just an exciting game to play. The sport offers a lot of physical, mental, and emotional health benefits for anyone who wants to become more active or develop a healthier lifestyle. In this sense, it is a great mind and full-body workout. 

Playing basketball benefits your physical health in a number of different ways, including: 

Helps you improve your heart health: Engaging in intense sports activities like basketball and using up at least 2000 or more kilocalories per week can help you reduce your risk of getting heart disease.

A study points out that 70-minute basketball sessions played three times per week with the exercise intensity set at 50% to 80% of your heart rate reserve (HRR) helps reduce blood pressure. HRR is a way to measure how intensely you’re exercising during a workout or other physical activity.

It’s good for your bones: Playing basketball gives you a workout with a mix of jumping exercises in combination with weight-bearing activities — like tennis or jogging — and resistance exercises in the form of weight-lifting. Together, these activities all help to support bone health in adults. When your bones are not healthy, they are more likely to become weak and break easier.

When your bones break, it can be painful and you may need surgery to help fix the damage. Developing healthy lifestyle choices can help you reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a disease that makes your bones weak. 

Helps you lose weight: Basketball can help you burn up to 700 calories per hour, which makes it a good option to consider if you’re trying to lose weight. People with obesity have a higher risk of developing conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, problems with digestion, sexual, or gynecological functions, sleep apnea, degenerative arthritis, and more severe symptoms of COVID-19.

Helps you improve your balance and coordination: Basketball can help you improve your sense of balance. Balance is a way for your body to plan/respond to movements based on the information collected by your brain. It also helps you boost your ability to coordinate your movements because you need to be watching, holding, dribbling, or passing the ball throughout the game.  

Helps build muscles: Playing basketball can help you increase your upper and lower body strength by building muscle.

There are many different mental and emotional health benefits to playing basketball, including:

  • Helps reduce stress: Regular exercise helps to reduce the negative effects of stress and helps you relax.
  • Helps improve moods:  It can help improve your moods and confidence in yourself. It can also help mildly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Basketball is a fun way to get some regular exercise into your lifestyle.
  • Helps develop concentration and discipline: Building concentration can help you get more things done and enjoy more flow in every aspect of your life. Self-discipline can help you manage your life better so you’re doing more of the things you want to achieve. 
  • Helps you become a better team player: Basketball is a team sport. In order to win, you have to work well with other members of your team. Playing basketball regularly can help you become a better team player and build better social relationships with others. 
  • Helps you develop faster decision-making skills: Basketball can help you "think on your feet," as you often have to make split-second decisions with very little time on hand. Playing the sport regularly can help you transfer these skills to other aspects of your life, like work or family.
  • ‌Always consult your doctor before you start any new exercise program including basketball.
  • Basketball is a fast-paced game where you will be doing a lot of running, jumping, and twisting movements, so there are chances for injury. Do warm-up and cool-down exercises to minimize the risk of injury.   
  • ‌Drink fluids at regular intervals to make sure you are hydrated.   
  • ‌Start slowly. Build up your fitness levels before your start to increase the intensity and duration of your basketball sessions. Otherwise, you may expose yourself to a higher risk of injury.