America’s favorite pastime is also the leading youth sport among boys across the United States. Baseball is not only a great way to introduce children to sports, but it is also a great way to teach them the value of teamwork. Not to mention, it is a great way to stay healthy and physically fit when played on a regular basis.
Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
- Cardiovascular training: Cardio exercise strengthens your heart muscle and improves lung capacity, which you definitely get from running around the field. Batters running the bases, outfielders running to catch a fly ball and catchers chasing a foul ball all get short bursts of cardiovascular exercise.
- Strong arms: Swinging a baseball bat, throwing the ball and catching the ball are good ways to build arm strength and improve joint flexibility. Throwing the ball and swinging the bat involve all the muscles of the arms, including the biceps, triceps and the muscles of the chest and shoulders.
- Strong legs: Baseball recruits all of the major muscle groups in your legs. Moving laterally, throwing and squatting down to retrieve a ball engages your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles. Running, in particular, is not only a good cardiovascular workout, but also ideal for toning and building up your leg muscles.
- Hand-eye coordination: Pitching the ball and batting requires a great amount of hand-eye coordination.
- Burn calories: Swinging, running, catching and even walking to and from the dugout are exercises that may amp up your metabolism and burn calories. According to MayoClinic.com, a person who weighs 160 pounds can burn 365 calories an hour playing baseball.
- Stress relief: Getting involved in a game of baseball develops mental focus, concentration and refreshes the mind from everyday distractions.
- Benefit for youth: Kids who take part in youth sports like softball and baseball are more likely to live longer, have fewer health issues, avoid substance abuse and attend college.
- Overall fitness: According to the Sports Fitness Advisor website, a professional baseball player tends to be lean, with a body fat percentage of between 8 and 9, and able to run 60 yards in less than seven seconds.
- Sunlight: Baseball is typically played outdoors, where players are exposed to sunlight, which is a great natural source of vitamin D. Sufficient amounts of daily vitamin D intake are crucial for your body to be able to absorb and metabolize calcium and phosphorus.
- Sharpen the mind: Making split-second decisions on which is the correct strategy to implement on a certain play can help keep the mind sharp and alert.