The phrase “good for your health” is tossed around so often that it has almost lost its meaning. That said, basketball is extremely good for your health. Here are a few facts to show you how:

One hour of competitive basketball burns 472-745 calories (low end – 130 lb person, high end – 205 lb person). That is the same amount of calories you would burn if you bailed hay for the same amount of time. If you have ever bailed hay, you know that is quite a workout!

Even an hour of non-competitive basketball burns 354-558 calories in addition to being great fun. Hitting a punching bag or coal mining for an hour would do no more for you. You would burn the same amount. Yes, I said coal mining. You should not have to think too hard about how you would rather work off that slice of pepperoni Hot N’ Ready Pizza (288 calories).

To put basketball into greater perspective, you burn 413-651 calories per hour of backpacking. Backpacking is roughly equivalent to competitive game of basketball, but not too competitive. Ballroom dancing burns about 325-512 calories in an hour, but only if you are doing something vigorous like the Cha Cha. A smooth waltz would only get you up to 177-279 calories.

In summary, one hour of basketball means you could eat a Big Mac (467 calories) if you really wanted. However, exercising just so you can eat more is not the wisest choice you could make.

Burn calories while having fun.

(Calorie information taken from