People that are looking to lose weight are always looking for a good cardiovascular workout. Sports such as basketball combine the joys of competition with the running needed to raise ones heart rate. The best thing about basketball is even if you are just playing a half court pick-up game or full court competitive league games, when you are on the court you are working your body. The problem is for a good cardiovascular workout you need at least twenty minutes, and ideally forty minutes, of continuous action. Anyone who plays a lot of pick-up games know that it is difficult to constantly win and stay on the court playing for that amount of time. To get the most out of your workout while hooping it up, here are some helpful hints.

1 – Stretch before and after you play. Whenever you are doing any type of cardiovascular exercise it is very important to protect your muscles and ligaments by stretching. Just a simple stretching routine before playing will improve your muscles and ligaments performance, and it will also increase your endurance and durability. Stretching after a workout like playing basketball is also important. Long sustained stretches will allow your muscles to build more muscle fibers. A basic post workout stretching routine should include a stretch for both of your side muscle groups, your back, your abs, your groin, and then both legs. (Just remember side-side-front-back-legs-legs-legs.) Those seven stretches should cover the majority of you body’s muscles.

2 – Stay hydrated. Hydration is very important to keep your body functioning correctly. Think of your body as a factory. If a factory is lacking resources then it will begin to shut down production in the plant. Your body is the same way, and water is one of the most key resources your body uses. If you aren’t hydrated then your body will start to conserve, usually leading to painful cramping and muscle soreness. When you have a break, be sure to drink some fluids.

3 – Keep moving when you’re not on the court playing. This doesn’t mean you need to be running laps or doing jumping jacks, but you can be doing simple thing just to keep your heart rate elevated. Just dribbling the basketball, or shooting on an empty basketball while you are waiting for the game to end is a simple way to keep your heart rate up and get more out of your pick-up game. Whatever you do just don’t sit around. Normally your muscles will be fully recovered within a minute to four minutes of inactivity. Sitting around any longer usually just leads to stiffness, and that means less actual game time and less of a workout.

4 – Keep moving when you are on the court. In pick-up games it is common to just sit around and wait for the ball, and do little movement without the ball. This is not only bad for your workout, but it is just bad basketball. Games are more productive and fun to play in when you are active on both sides of the ball. Constantly moving will keep your heart rate up, and it will increase the intensity of the game. As many people know, you don’t like playing with certain people if they are lazy and always demanding the ball. So don’t be one of those people.

5 – Think nutrition. After you are done with a pick-up game, add some protein to your diet. Taking protein within thirty minutes after a long cardiovascular workout such as basketball will help your body to build lean muscle. Lean muscle acts as an engine when you aren’t working out and continue to burn fat calories, even when you are sleeping. Protein is almost never converted into fat, and it also fills you so you are eating any unhealthy items instead. Try to get a good whey protein supplement, with isolated whey protein. This will give you the most protein per serving and will cut out the fats and carbohydrates that other protein supplements include in their mixture. Whey protein is also far easier to digest than soy based proteins. A little thought towards nutrition would go a long ways.

Playing basketball is just fun to begin with, and if you follow these simple tips you can gain all the advantages of a good sustained cardiovascular workout.

Article source: Expert Articles