Newswise — ST. LOUIS – After you agonize over your NCAA bracket and hand your $10 over to the office pool, take a moment to reflect on the intense exercise and athleticism displayed in every college basketball game. In fact, from pick-up games to the pros, basketball has the potential to offer a multitude of all-around health benefits.
As exercise goes, it doesn’t get much better than a fun team sport that requires no expensive equipment or major time commitments.
If you need more convincing, Tim Howell, Ed.D., ATC, CSCS, assistant professor of physical therapy and athletic training at Saint Louis University, home of the Billikens, offers seven more reasons.
Basketball is good for: Your Heart. Basketball can help you develop cardiovascular endurance, depending on how many times play stops. Keep moving, and you’ll keep your heart rate up. Building endurance can help keep your heart healthy, reducing risks of heart disease and stroke down the line.
Your Muscles. Long range three point shots help develop both upper and lower body strength. So does jumping to block shots. Strong muscles help you maintain your balance and decrease your risk of falling.
Your Bones. Jumping is a great way to develop and improve bone health. Weight-bearing exercise helps maintain your bone density over the course of your lifetime. Stronger bones are bones that are less likely to break.
Your Brain. By developing eye-hand coordination, basketball builds spacial awareness. Your body will know where it is in space and time. Ever wonder why a cat always lands on its feet? Body awareness.
Your Gut. Reducing it, that is. Depending on the intensity at which you play, you can burn 700 or more calories an hour. Burn fat while having fun.
Your Social Life. Have fun. Socialize. Build teamwork. Strong relationships translate into good health. Social people are less likely to suffer from depression and also tend to have a stronger immune system. Exercising in a group also tends to lead to better continued participation because you don’t exercise alone. You will have a built-in support system.
Your Stress Levels. Played alone or in groups, basketball can reduce stress. Exercise is a proven stress-reliever. Decreasing your stress will help you focus and have more energy to complete tasks.
Long a leader in educating health professionals, Saint Louis University offered its first degree in an allied health profession in 1929. Today the Doisy College of Health Sciences offers degrees in physical therapy, athletic training education, clinical laboratory science, nutrition and dietetics, health informatics and information management, health sciences, medical imaging and radiation therapeutics, occupational science and occupational therapy, and physician assistant education. The college's unique curriculum prepares students to work with health professionals from all disciplines to ensure the best possible patient care.