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How can Basketball Help you Lose Weight?

Basketball can help you lose weight because it works as a mid/high-intensity workout that burns calories. In combination with balanced nutrition, this can be a winning solution for weight loss.

As you know basketball is full of fast movement, changing directions, and quick bursts of energy that are performed at maximum effort in a short time, and this is called an anaerobic workout.

But it can also be considered an aerobic sport because there is a lot of running and walking involved.

You can also build quite the stamina by playing on your own or on a team in school.

But is it enough to lose weight?

Weight Loss Fundamentals

Weight loss is by definition a reduction of body mass, by loss of fluid, body fat, or lean mass. It happens when your energy intake is lower than your energy output.

basketball for weight loss

Losing weight should always be planned out and a well thought of endeavor, to get your body and mind in a healthier place.

Extreme diets and restrictions can cause unhealthy habits and relation to food.

If you want to lose weight healthily and safely, without putting your wellbeing in danger and with no yo-yo effect, there are two things to consider; diet and exercise.

Both are equally important for balance because without nutritious food you won’t have energy and without exercise, you won’t spend energy, build muscle, and get that lean look.


What you eat is an irreplaceable factor that determines what your body is going to look like. “You are what you eat” is a sentence you’ve probably heard before.

So it is very important to be careful with the products you consume and how you use them, to achieve your desired weight and health goal.

Exercising while ignoring your diet is an incomplete plan that won’t get you to your finish line.

That’s why a combination of the two is the best and most efficient way to make sure you are covering all the bases.

So, what should you eat and what should you avoid if you want to lose weight?

Here is a list of foods to eat:

  1. Eat food that is high in protein (like eggs and lean meats)
  2. Avoid sugar, sodas, and hidden sugar (be careful and read the labels)
  3.  Drink lots of water (to help you jump-start your metabolism)
  4.  Eat whole foods (unprocessed and unrefined)
  5. Take your time (eat slowly)

This list of reminders will aid you when you first get started on your weight loss journey, but you will determine what works for you the best.

It’s always a good idea to start slow and adjust, depending on the amount of weight you need and want to lose.

Being too strict may cause the opposite effect and frustrate you enough to give up. Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. Diets are sprints, so avoid those.

The goal is not to starve yourself, but rather to get your body in a healthy and energetic state, with nutritious and balanced food.

This way you will also have the will and energy for a proper workout.


Working out while being on a healthy diet is the key to losing weight. Aim to consume less than you expend, if you want to lose weight.

Exercise alone is not going to do much because to lose weight you simply have to burn more calories than you take in.

If you bring in too many calories, no amount of working out will be effective.

A caloric deficit is the main component of the weight loss equation.

When you are in control of what you buy and eat, and you know that you are close to your equilibrium intake, you are ready for exercise.

Some types of cardio are more efficient at burning calories than others, but don’t dwell too much on this to begin with.

The most important thing is that you find a type of exercise you enjoy. Or at least can stick with over time.

Here is a list of common types of cardiovascular exercise that you can use to get inspired for your own new regimen:

  1. Running
  2. Swimming
  3. Walking
  4. Cycling
  5. Yoga/Pilates
  6. Weight training
  7. Interval training
  8. Basketball

As you can see, all the exercises on the list aim to get your heart pumping and that is why it’s called cardio training.

Cardiovascular exercises will increase heart rate and respiration. This will also raise blood flow and oxygen levels. This way your body is spending energy to fuel those big muscle groups that are being used and burn the calories.

When you use up all the energy you have stored in your blood, your body will turn to fat deposits and use those to fuel up.

Simply put, you are making your body turn fat into energy, and lose weight in the process. Great!

But how about basketball? Does it count as a workout?

Is playing Basketball a Good Workout?

Basketball will increase your heart rate and burn calories. Thus, basketball can be a fun and effective form of exercise.

Basketball is an anaerobic sport in general, but it also has the components of an aerobic sport, so let’s look at the differences between the two:


This type of exercise engages fast-twitch muscles (Type 2) and requires acceleration, change of direction, and physical actions that don’t need oxygen.

This is accomplished by spending energy stored in the muscle itself, for fast and vigorous movements. This energy is limited and spent easily, so you need a rest in-between to replenish it.

A good example of this kind of exercise is shooting hoops.

You can easily burn 300 calories an hour by simply playing basketball alone.

In comparison, a light jog will spend from 200 – 500 calories for half an hour.

But compared to jogging, you will engage more muscles and have a greater time if basketball is what you are into.

Let’s take a closer look at the aerobic aspect of basketball.


Aerobic exercise uses oxygen to produce energy for continuous steady-state performance.

Up to 65% of the basketball game is aerobic, so it’s important to remember that this sport is not all about jumping and fast movements. It often includes running, jogging, and walking back and forth.

This means that basketball can be a perfect aerobic addition to your weight loss scheme.

Playing a half-court game will burn around 558 calories in one hour, and a full-court game will burn about 747 calories in that time.

It is a clear implication that basketball burns calories and will help you lose weight.

Playing on a full-court will obviously add to the running part of your basketball game. Playing street basket on a half-court will make the game less aerobic.

But still, playing a one-on-one game outside on half-court will for sure challenge your stamina, as things can get pretty intense.

This kind of aerobic workout is both fun and effective for weight loss. So if you’re a fan of basketball already, don’t drop it in favor of more intensive exercise forms.

Is Basketball Good for Burning Fat?

Basketball can be a great type of exercise for fat burning, as it requires your body to generate energy for both aerobic and anaerobic systems. This energy can be generated from stored fat.

Burning fat is a metabolic process where the body uses it as fuel. The brain signals fat cells to release energy packages or fatty acid molecules, to the bloodstream.

The muscles, lungs, and heart pick up these fatty acids, break them apart, and use the energy stored in the bonds to execute their activities.

So, when you do all the running, walking, jumping, and activate your muscles, you are burning calories and fat in the process.

On average, the sport of basketball is ranked as spending 496 to 687 calories per hour.

Although basketball isn’t the most intensive form for exercise, 5-700 calories is a pretty descent workout.

If you are looking for more intensive types of exercise, here is a list of sports with the calorie spend per hour:

  • Swimming 500 – 800 calories per hour
  • Sprinting 900 – 1.500 calories/hour
  • Soccer 600 – 900 calories/hour
  • Boxing 800 – 1.000 calories/hour
  • Cycling 670 – 1.000 calories/hour

With all those options, why would you choose basketball?

Why is Basketball sometimes a Better Choice?

Basketball incorporates aerobic and anaerobic exercise that can be beneficial for weight-loss.

And sometimes it can be even better for you than simple running, swimming, or other workouts that are usually used in cardio and weight loss programs.

While basketball may not be as efficient for burning calories as running, there are other benefits to be considered.

Basketball will incorporate plyometric exercises, or better known as “jump training” which is a high-intensity leg training that combines stretching and strength training through repetitive jumping.

Simply put, you will build more of your leg muscles and this can be a big benefit if you are tall, to balance your look and avoid skinny legs.

It is also a team sport, where you have to engage your mind and think fast. This will be a great way to incorporate a vigorous workout while having fun.

And if you manage to have fun while being active, you’ve found a way to stay consistent with your workouts.

This is one of the hardest things for people seeking to shed some pounds; to stick with a regimen that slims them down over time.

Weight loss is a matter of lifestyle, not diet. If you can sustain a healthy, active lifestyle, you are well on your way to a better body.

Staying active this way will also increase your serotonin levels, which makes you addicted to physical activity and makes it easier to stay on the right path to lose and maintain your weight.

Read more:

How to lose weight:

Weight loss:

Cardiovascular exercise:

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