Published On: Fri, Feb 17th, 2017

Peter Benedict St Andrews: The Health Benefits of Basketball for Players and Fans

As we all know, participating in sports is an excellent way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and for this reason everyone should try to find a sport that interests them.  However, did you know that you can also enjoy some of the health benefits of sports even if you aren’t actually playing?  Here are some of the ways that you can benefit from a game of basketball whether you are player or a fan like Peter Benedict St Andrews cheering from the benches.

It gets the heart pumping

There is no question that playing basketball is a very active undertaking that has players pretty much constantly on the go.  Shooting, running and jumping burns hundreds of calories and supports the development of cardiovascular health.  But even if you aren’t playing, don’t underestimate the potential to burn calories in the benches.  Watching a basketball game can be quite an active spectator sport as fans jump up from their seats cheering, or lean forward in their seats watching with bodies tense.  Fans’ heart rates won’t reach the same levels as the players’ but you can certainly feel the blood pumping!

Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan 1997 photo/ Steve Lipofsky Basketballphoto.com

It contributes to mental health and well-being

It is well-known that social activities are good for mental health because they help to generate a feeling of connectedness that can help people avoid anxiety, depression and stress.  For the players, this comes from being a part of a team working towards the same goal.  For fans, the experience of collective moments of cheering or disappointment, everyone wearing the same jersey, or doing the wave are all powerful ways to make us feel connected to each other.  

It releases tension and stress

The great thing about sports is their ability to relieve tension.  Whether you are pIaying or watching, basketball demands your complete attention if you are going have an idea of what is going on, and this can provide a respite from the worries or frustrations of daily life.  In this sense, playing or watching basketball can be a form of what is called an “active mediation.” And for players and fans too there is a rush of endorphins that can come from the excitement of the game.  

Endorphins are also known as the “happy chemicals” which are responsible for the “runner’s high” that people describe after exercise.  In addition to producing “feel good” chemicals, exertion also actively reduces stress hormones.  Fans get the added bonus of being able to cheer at the top of their lungs – a clear sign of throwing off inhibitions, and also connected to reductions in stress as a form of collective “primal yelling” therapy!

These are just some of the ways that you can benefit from a good game of basketball, even if you aren’t playing!

Author: Anwar Hossain

screenshot live performance of “My Victory”

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