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Play Basketball Day 2022: Wonderful health benefits of playing basketball

An active lifestyle can keep both your body and mind in top shape. Playing outdoors can work wonders for overall health as it helps develop fitness, agility and stamina. Jumping, running, climbing etc can be good for your bones, muscles and help in developing coordination, balance and strength. Not just children, adults too can benefit by playing a sport of their choice. Basketball is one such enjoyable sport that offers wonderful physical, emotional, and social benefits. Play Basketball Day is celebrated on December 2 every year in the memory of James Naismith, a Canadian man who developed and introduced basketball as part of physical education at a YMCA training school in US. (Also read: International Sudoku Day 2022: Health benefits of playing Sudoku every day)

“This game of continuous rhythm of bouncing, throwing and quick situational decision making is significantly gaining popularity among youth. It’s a perfect blend of physical and mental indulgence, which not only keeps you fit rather helps to bring discipline in your life. You can play basketball with a playful or competitive spirit. Either way, it’s a fantastic way to gain strength, coordination, and muscular endurance,” says Dr Rohit Lamba, HOD & Senior Consultant, Bone, Joint Replacement and Orthopedics, Sanar International Hospitals. (Also read: International Chess Day 2022: Many benefits of playing chess)

On Play Basketball Day, Dr Lamba shares the physical, emotional, and social benefits of playing basketball and how it can improve your overall health and well-being.

Health benefits of playing basketball

Strength and Endurance: Being a high demand game, it requires agility, strength and stamina. Rapid movements and changes in direction require quick and intense muscle contractions. In addition to this, muscle endurance can also be built by regular play.

Improves balance, coordination and motor skills: Playing basketball has been shown to improve hand-eye coordination and balance as you have to make quick movements and suddenly change directions. Fundamental movement skills have been shown to be enhanced substantially in children regularly playing basketball.

Bone health: Bone density erodes with aging and sedentary lifestyle. Adequate intake of nutrition along with a regular sport like basketball may help you with stronger bones throughout life. Research has shown weight bearing exercises and activities like running and brisk walking to be helpful in increasing bone strength.

Gaining height: After skipping and some Yoga, basketball is generally considered to be helpful with increasing height if pursued in the pre-adolescent age group. The tip to toe continuous physical movements, and rigorous workout of legs contribute in significant physical growth. Hence more teens and children are suggested to play this game depending on their interest.

Improves heart health: While sedentary lifestyle may lead to elevated blood pressure, daily exercise or any other regular sport help to keep blood vessels healthy and blood pressure in control. Research has suggested regular basketball increases resting heart rate, leading to improved cardio-respiratory fitness.

Focus and concentration: Talking about basketball game, no pre-decided strategy can ensure favourable outcome as your counterpart’s one quick move can change the entire game. Playing basketball helps to keep you in the moment and makes you more focused. This regular practice reflects in your other daily tasks as well.

Develops self-confidence and lowers stress: Regularly playing the game can bring out certain aspects of one’s personality which help develop which help in overall boost of confidence and positive outlook to life in general. Regular physical activity has been shown to release endorphins which lower stress, elevate mood and alleviate depression.

Encourages team spirit and develops communication skills: Being a team game, it promotes camaraderie and sense of bonding. As you interact with your team mates, you develop your communication skills as well as getting newer perspectives of life.

While people should be encouraged to play games like basketball, not every person is suitable for every sport. There are some physical conditions that may not allow one to play a particular sport. It is important to take a medical expert’s advice and choose your game wisely.

How to prepare yourself before starting to play basketball

Here are some tips suggested by Dr Lamba that should be followed before one starts to train for basketball.

Take extra care of your knees and other joints: Ensure proper physical training before getting into the sport, take coach’s help and never ignore any excessive joint pains or niggles experienced while playing.

Take proper diet: Without proper diet any fitness journey or sports routine is futile, and comparatively more active lifestyle schedule seeks more nutrition. Take adequate quantity of calcium and vitamins, increase the intake of milk, green vegetables and other rich protein sources.

People with comorbidities: It is noteworthy to mention that people with joint pain, knee health issues, comorbidities need to be more conscious while choosing basketball as their game. While unnecessarily jumping and continuous running may increase heart rate, the same condition may affect your breathing pattern if you are already suffering from asthma or any other respiratory issue. Similarly continuous running may add to already existing joint pain as well. Ensure to take your concerned doctor’s suggestion before training, don’t play if not advisable, rather choose any other sport that suits your physical condition.

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