Fitness

5 Health benefits to shooting some hoops

Skip cardio class and start dribbling.

Basketball has a serious sweat quotient: A 150-pound woman can burn up to 230 calories in a half hour. Cardiovascular benefits aren't the only reason to dribble. Here are five more reasons to grab a ball and have some fun.

 

1) Your age doesn't matter. 


Kids, friends, co-workers. Young, old and (ahem) not-quite-middleaged. All can bond by shooting hoops. A friendly pickup game could become a weekly outing.

 

2) Your brain will work up a sweat, too.


On the court, you watch the ball, figure out who’s open and look for when you can shoot—that nonstop decision making challenges the brain (and wakes you up).

RELATED: 6 Workouts that build fitness and life skills

 

3) Your muscles stay engaged. 


Basketball forces you to move at different speeds. Play often and you could be more fit and less likely to get injured, says Duane Millslagle, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

 

4) Your reaction time will sharpen. 


During the game, you have to track the ball and react quickly, which could make you faster on your feet (maybe behind the wheel, too!).

 

5) Your social circle will expand. 


Joining a league “is a great way to meet people and feel like part of a team,” says Kendra Hansen, general manager of the basketball leagues for ZogSports in Washington, D.C.

RELATED: #SquadGoals: Start your own workout crew

Before starting any new exercise routine, make sure to check in with your doctor.