Health & Fitness Sports

Playing Basketball For Weight Loss

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world and is still growing as a favorite. While an entertaining activity if you’re watching, it’s also great for weight loss if you play.

The sport is fun and stimulates both the body and brain as it takes lots of physical effort, as well as mental effort.

Can You Lose Weight By Playing Basketball?

Lose Weight by Playing Basketball

One can easily maintain a healthy lifestyle by playing basketball regularly and one of the best things about it is there’s none of the boredom attached to simply pumping iron or running, whether it be outdoors or on a treadmill.

Basketball is very demanding on the body, as noted above, and burns a whole lot of calories. A lot of walking, running, jumping and changing of direction is involved and it doesn’t take long to break a sweat when playing.

Sadly, basketball isn’t as safe as it used to be given the emergence of the coronavirus but, should you decide to take on basketball for weight loss, there are a few things you should know.

While you’d burn plenty of calories playing basketball, there are some factors that will determine how many you burn, such as the time spent playing, intensity, whether you’re playing full or half-court, and the number of players per team. Of course, your initial weight will have something to do with it. claims you can estimate the number of calories you burn based on your weight and the type of game you’re playing. Below are the numbers for someone who weighs 150 pounds.

  • Full-court: 570 calories per hour.
  • Half-court: 390 calories per hour.
  • Shootaround: 270 calories per hour.

You could also check out to get an average of how many calories you’d burn for certain activities. The MyFitnessPal app is also great for such estimates. WebMD’s numbers aren’t that far off from’s as it claims a person weighing 150 pounds will burn 544 calories per hour and 306 calories per hour in a shootaround.

If you’re wondering why there’s a difference in the number of calories burned given that you’d be active for the same amount of time anyway, it’s because a full-court game requires one to cover a lot more ground than they would in a half-court game or simply shooting the basketball. Moving between the hoop and half-court line requires less running.

We also wouldn’t blame you for wondering how many calories pro players burn per game. Basketball pros are among the best-conditioned athletes on the planet.

And, considering there’s quite a lot at stake when you play in a professional league like the NBA as everyone’s trying to get to a championship and playing to secure millions in salary, players simply have to be fit. There’s also not wanting to disappoint the fans who come to watch, buy your team’s merchandise or spend their money on live NBA odds.

NBA pros burn calories at a much faster rate than the regular Joe and, according to, an NBA player can burn up to 1500 calories in just 30 minutes of gameplay.

If you have weight loss on your mind when playing with your peers, then you should definitely put more into games. They might be playing for fun but, given that you have a goal in mind, don’t do too much standing or walking around. Run!

More calories are burned when you participate in high-intensity movements such as sprinting and jumping. Sprinting to the other end of the floor when possession changes always impresses a coach and, when in a half-court set, sprinting to get open or to draw defenders to set up opportunities for teammates is something you should be doing pretty often.

Playing Basketball For Weight Loss

When on defense, stay in front of the man you’re marking in order to prevent them from attempting or making shots. Jumping to block shots or for rebounds also does well to get that heart rate up.

As highlighted above, the number of calories you burn also depends on the time spent playing. The National Institute of Health advises persons to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise three to five days a week.

That’s quite easily achievable in a game of basketball as you could easily play through an hour and not even realize it considering how much fun it is to play.

While basketball is fun and exciting, it could also be pretty dangerous as it’s a contact sport. You could get seriously hurt playing a game of basketball so it pays to wear protective equipment and play with the right shoes. There’s no protective brace that can protect you if you’re reckless, however.

Also, do drink plenty of water before, during, and after games as you will be losing lots of body fluids while playing. And, of course, pace yourself and take breaks during play.

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About the author

Blossom Smith

Hi there! I’m Blossom. I enjoy the simple things in life – a walk through the woods, a cozy blanket, a tasty meal or a good book. When I got married 13 years ago, I was truly clueless in the realm of homemaking.