Is Basketball Cardio? (5 Reasons Why It Is Good For You!)

Is Basketball Cardio? (5 Reasons Why It Is Good For You!)

Did you know that research shows that playing basketball is not only fun, it is good for you too?! A study found that just 30 minutes of playing basketball was equal to running on a treadmill at a low intensity for 30-minutes or walking at a moderate intensity for 30-minutes or jogging at a high intensity for 20-minutes. 

Specific exercises are considered by many as “cardio” exercises. Running is one of those exercises. Biking is another. Stair climbing is yet another. But what about basketball? Is playing basketball cardio or not? In this article, I will give you five reasons why playing basketball (or any other form of exercise) is good for you even though it doesn’t burn a lot of calories.

Is Basketball Cardio Exercise?

Yes, Basketball is a Cardio Exercise! Basketball is a sport that requires endurance and cardiovascular fitness. It’s one of the few sports that you can play into your 40’s and even 50’s. The truth is, if you want to keep playing at a high level, you have to condition your body for the rigors of the game.

Conditioning your body means getting all the “little things” (like cardiovascular endurance), so you can perform under pressure.

Imagine you are playing against someone much stronger than you. If you don’t condition your body, you will get tired quickly and be at a physical and physiological disadvantage. Conditioning your body for the rigors of the game means you will be able to play longer, harder, and more intense games.

Why Basketball is the Best Cardio Workout:

You Can Do It Anywhere! Playing basketball is one of the best forms of cardio because you can play it anywhere! Even if you don’t have a basketball court or a hoop in your backyard, you can still play basketball whenever you go out. Just bring a ball and a pair of sneakers with you.

You’ll find an endless supply of hoops (usually made from metal) just about anywhere you travel in the U.S. A great place to start is at a playground or school ground.

Almost every city has at least one public playground or school ground with a set of basketball hoops. You Can Play Basketball With Almost Anyone! One of the most incredible things about basketball is you can play it with almost anyone.

The game’s object is simple: Throw the ball into the hoop (while avoiding the opponent’s hoop) and score by making baskets (by rolling the ball past the opponent’s line). It’s a great way to get to know people from all walks of life. You will undoubtedly meet some interesting people when you go to a playground or school grounds to play. You’ll also meet some very competitive people.

What Is Better for Exercise: Basketball or Long Distance Running?

It’s like asking what’s better for the environment: A nuclear power plant or a hydroelectric dam? Both have their place, but in most cases, a hydroelectric dam will be a lot more “green” than a nuclear power plant. However, suppose we were to make a comparison between basketball and long-distance running.

In that case, I’d have to say running is the superior form of exercise. This is because Basketball Players Get Very Tired! Very quickly! Take a group of basketball players and put them on an exercise bike. They will all reach exhaustion (physiologically) in about the same amount of time it takes one of the runners to complete a marathon. When you play basketball, your heart rate will be elevated for a long time. This is both good and bad.

Does Running or Playing Basketball Burn More Calories?

Yes, running does burn more calories than playing basketball. However, this is only true if you are doing long-distance running. Suppose you are playing pickup basketball or playing to get your heart rate up. In that case, the “calorie expenditure” is going to be very similar for both activities.

I’d guess playing just two or three pickup basketball games would burn more calories than most people who run long distances. But remember: Long Distance Running Is Better For You! And it’s also a lot more fun! How Long Does It Take To Get In Shape To Play Basketball Well? This varies from person to person. Some people can become good in just a few days (if they are motivated), while other people may take a year or more (if they are not motivated).

But no matter how long it takes, the payoff is enormous! Once you learn to play basketball well, you will play against almost any opponent and beat them easily. The truth is, once you get good at basketball, you will be able to play against anyone, anywhere, anytime, even if they are ten times better than you are now.

5 Reasons Why Basketball is good for you!

  • Builds Cardio Endurance: 
    Basketball requires a lot of quick running and jumping. Most basketball players have a very high heart rate for most of any game they play. Helps Build Muscles:: Again, basketball requires a lot of fast running and jumping. This causes your muscles to get very strong and build up very quickly. This is especially true for their lower body because this is the part of the body that has to move the greatest amount during a basketball game.
  • Improves Balance:
    Basketball improves your balance because it forces you to be on the move constantly. This helps you become more agile and improves your coordination. 
  • Helps You Develop A Competitive Spirit:
    A big part of playing basketball well as a “competitive spirit.” You have to be able to take criticism, have confidence in your ability, dare to go after what you want, and have the tenacity to persevere when things get tough. Basketball develops all of these traits.
  • Not Just About Running: 
    You also have to have the skill to pass, shoot, dribble, and play defense if you are any good. And basketball develops all of these skills too. Helps You Gain Confidence: When you play basketball, the outcome is never certain. You will always have someone faster, stronger, or more skilled than you. This causes you to have to improve yourself if you want to succeed constantly.
  • Teaching Self-Discipline: 
    Basketball requires constant practice. If you are going to be any good, you will have to be disciplined enough to stay in practice mode even when you don’t feel like it. This is an essential life skill that is developed through mastering the game of basketball. 


Is Basketball Cardio? Yes, it is if you choose to make it so. If you decide to run every day before or after playing basketball, it is cardio. But, if you are like most people and you play just three basketball games per week (at least for now), then I don’t believe you are getting enough cardio to achieve maximum health benefits.