How to Get in Basketball Shape in 2 Weeks

Playing basketball is a cardiovascular activity, so it counts toward your active minutes in a day. However, not everyone can hit the court right away. If you want to play basketball, two weeks may not be enough time to get into basketball shape, but with some work you can improve your fitness.

Basketball is a great cardio exercise.
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How Intense Is Basketball?

Exercise experts measure calories burned and intensity of exercise using a unit of measurement called "metabolic equivalents" (METs). Simply put, a MET is the of energy you burn when you are not active. This can include when you are watching TV, reading or when you are lying down.

According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, you burn 1 calorie an hour for every 2.2 pounds of your body's weight. This means that if you weigh 125 pounds, you naturally burn about 57 calories an hour when you are at rest.

The number of calories you burn increases as you increase your activity level. If you participate in a moderate-intensity exercise, such as shooting baskets or walking briskly, you can expect to burn 3 to 6 METs per hour. If you do a high-intensity activity, such as playing a basketball game, you can expect to burn 6 or more METs an hour.

Read more: The Relationship Between Heart Rate and Exercise Intensity

In other words, if you are shooting baskets with minimal running and jumping and you weigh about 125 pounds, you can expect to burn between 175 and 340 calories an hour. However, if you are playing a game of basketball with friends or as part of a competition, you will burn at least 340 calories with each hour of play.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) provides a calorie calculator based on certain activities. According to their calculator, if you weigh 125 pounds and play a basketball game for one hour, you could burn 453 calories. However, if you are just shooting baskets, you will likely burn around 255 calories in an hour.

Getting Basketball-Ready

If you live a sedentary life, you are almost certainly not going to be able to get ready for an intense game of basketball in two weeks. You will need to build up your endurance and strength to help avoid injury.

The first step to playing a game of basketball is building up your general fitness and endurance levels through a solid exercise routine. Doing cardio like brisk walking, jogging or interval workouts will help you build your endurance. Resistance training, especially exercises like squats that target the lower body, as well as core work, can help you build the strength you need to play basketball.

Read more: How to Get Started Working Out at Home

There are many beginner exercise routines available. ACE recommends any beginner start by walking briskly for 15 minutes. As time goes on, you can gradually increase the amount of time you walk or your speed or intensity. Eventually, you will be able to run while talking. At this point, you are probably fit enough to play a game of basketball. If you were already pretty fit, you may find you are able to play basketball sooner than someone who is starting as a beginner.

Do not try to rush your fitness. If you push too hard, too soon you run a risk of injuring yourself. If you have any questions, you should talk to a personal trainer. You should also talk to your doctor prior to starting any new exercise program.

Realistic Time Frame and Routines

While two weeks may not be enough time to take you from the couch to the court, you can make some serious strides in your fitness levels after just two weeks of training with more intense training.

A study published in the July 2018 issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health followed 13 sedentary people who started doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts or moderate-intensity continuous cardio. Both groups saw improvements in heart rate variability at the end of two weeks but the HIIT training group saw more dramatic improvements in their cardiovascular fitness.

However, two weeks may not be enough to get you into competitive basketball shape. Even ACE recommends people give their bodies at least four to six weeks to adapt to a new exercise routine. If you are in good shape already, you may not need that long, but if you've never played a sport before or are new to basketball, give yourself at least that long to get yourself basketball-ready.

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