Why More Women Should Go Mad for Basketball

03.31.2016 • Fitness

Ladies, it’s time to take back the court! Shooting hoops is a fantastic total body workout that comes with a host of other mental and physical benefits. But not enough of us are playing.

Basketball is the most played sport in the U.S., true for adults and kids alike. The sport is responsible for getting more than 26 million Americans up on their feet, with women accounting for 6.5 million of those participants. It’s one of the most popular sports played by women, but falls behind tennis, golf, softball, and volleyball.

So why the fall off for this particular sport? It’s what women cite for most things they love and walk away from.

“They say career, parental responsibilities, and injuries have made it harder to play,” according to NPR.

Once women leave high school, and especially college, their days on the court are usually behind them. NPR reported that female athletes give up basketball at a much earlier age than men.

Women who still play say basketball is an escape or release, liken to runners who herald their sport as an escape. It’s a tremendously social sport, which can be a valuable outlet for women. Rather than count calories over wine and tapas, consider counting the calories burned during an hour of basketball with your girlfriends. For a 165-pound adult, you’ll burn around 600 calories!

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A social outlet like basketball becomes a stress reliever. One woman told NPR that basketball is her beach. “It's the one time that my mind can actually just not think about anything else but ... but playing."

Plus, there are a host of physical benefits to be gained by routine basketball play. The game develops cardiovascular endurance, balance, and coordination. You’ll build lean muscle, increasing both upper and lower body strength. The jumping and other physical demands of the game can develop and improve bone health and strength. All of this contributes to a woman’s vitality as she ages.

If you loved playing basketball in your youth, and don’t have an injury preventing you from playing, schedule a pick-up game with your friends. It could be the escape from life’s madness your body has been craving.