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How to Lose Body Fat by Playing Basketball as Cardio

by
author image William McCoy
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.
How to Lose Body Fat by Playing Basketball as Cardio
Playing basketball regularly can help you work toward a calorie deficit. Photo Credit FogStock/Vico Images/Alin Dragulin/FogStock/Getty Images

Building a slimmer body doesn't have to start with a trip to the gym. If you're not the type of person who's had success with repetitive, solo workouts such as jogging and cycling, grab a basketball, recruit some friends and use this fast-paced sport to shed some pounds. It's possible to lose body fat through basketball, provided you play it frequently enough and make other lifestyle changes.

Calorie Deficits Equal Success

If you've found fat loss a challenge in the past, the simplest way to have success is to burn more calories than you consume, which is called putting your body in a calorie deficit. This concept is at the center of fat loss -- you can't build a slimmer body without creating a calorie deficit. One pound of fat is hypothetically equal to 3,500 calories. If you wish to lose a pound in a week with two days of rest, seek to create a daily deficit of 700 calories over the other five days of the week.

Shoot for Five Hours of Hoops

Cardio exercise is a vitally important tool in fat loss. Performing cardio for around 300 minutes per week will often burn enough calories to help you put your body in a calorie deficit. The key to making basketball a cardio exercise is to increase your tempo; standing around shooting hoops will burn calories, but not as quickly as jogging up and down the court during a game. You don't have to perform cardio daily to lose weight; three to five times per week, provided you reach the 300-minute mark, is a suitable goal.

Full-Court Hoops Are Best

Each element of playing basketball burns calories at a unique rate. HealthStatus notes a 200-pound person burns 408 calories in an hour of shooting baskets, 744 calories in an hour of half-court basketball and 996 calories in an hour of full-court basketball. While the latter activity is the best way to burn calories to work toward fat loss, the other two exercises are suitable if you don't have enough players for a game or are sharing the court with another group.

Make Other Changes

It's impractical to think about losing fat without making some other changes to your lifestyle. While cardio exercise is important, strength training also plays a role in your health and at least a pair of strength-training sessions should be part of your weekly fitness routine. Reducing your intake of calories is also important, especially if a poor diet has led to weight gain. You can reduce your daily calorie consumption in a variety of ways, including eating small meals throughout the day and avoiding high-trans fat and high-sugar foods.

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