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Does Running or Playing Basketball Burn More Calories?

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.
Does Running or Playing Basketball Burn More Calories?
Running at a fast pace burns calories faster than virtually every exercise. Photo Credit: Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images

If you're anxious to get some exercise and a number of your friends feel the same way, grab a basketball and head to the nearest court for a pickup game. This activity can burn hundreds of calories, although it isn't practical if you can't assemble enough friends for a game. If you're high on exercise ambition but low on friends, lace up your shoes and head to the nearest running trail to get a high calorie burn.

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Pounding the Pavement

Running, provided you maintain a quick pace, provides one of the fastest calorie burns of any exercise. A 190-pound person who runs for an hour at 5 mph burns 690 calories, notes the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. Increasing the pace to just 5.2 mph creates a burn of 776 calories per hour. If a 190-pound person can maintain a running pace of 6.7 mph for 60 minutes, he will burn 949 calories.

Dribble, Shoot and Burn Calories

Although your mind might be focused on the ball as you dribble around the basketball court, this sport helps you burn calories. According to data from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, a 190-pound person burns 690 calories during a 60-minute basketball game. The same person burns 388 calories in an hour of shooting hoops and 518 calories in an hour of playing basketball at a casual pace.

Strengthen Your Body and Mind

Basketball's rapid calorie burn makes it a valuable exercise, regardless of whether your workout priority is to lose weight or just avoid packing on a few pounds. This sport, notes the Better Health Channel, can increase your endurance, improve your coordination, build muscle and provide emotional benefits such as improving your concentration. Basketball is ideal for those who enjoy exercising with others, but it can provide a useful calorie burn even when you take shots alone.

Run Toward Better Health

Although running doesn't have to be a solitary activity, you don't need to gather others to reap the benefits of this exercise. Running increases your cardiovascular capacity, builds stronger bones and muscles and can be a simple way to maintain a healthy physique. If you aren't capable of running, don't shy away from walking. Although walking doesn't burn calories as quickly as running, the University of Rochester Medical Center reports that walking still improves your health.

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