“Are you going to be on our team this year?” your best friend at work asked you the other day. “We really need you!”
Your friend is referring to the company softball team. For the past five years, you’ve played outfield on the team. Sure it’s been fun at times socializing with your work colleagues in an informal setting but sometimes you are bored out of your mind just standing there waiting for the ball to be hit to you or sitting in the dugout waiting your turn at bat.
‘I need to lose weight,’ you thought to yourself when your friend asked you to play in the summer softball league again. ‘Maybe, I should take up bicycling this summer. The team really doesn’t need me — and no one seems to care whether we win or lose anyway!’ The real question, you think to yourself, is whether playing softball has been a beneficial exercise for you. Is it or have you gained weight in previous summers just because you can’t resist going out to a restaurant for food and drink with the guys and girls after the game is over
Perhaps, you should play ball and then bicycle. Perhaps, you should just not play and pressure your work colleagues to bicycle with you. Before making this decision, you can learn more about softball as an exercise.
Why Softball and Baseball to Lose Weight?
- How much weight you lose when you exercise, or when you’re doing just your everyday activities for that matter, depends on your effort. When you exercise more strenuously, your heart beats faster and you burn more calories. When you are exercising intensely, your heart rate will be 70 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. Your MHR is 220 heartbeats per minute minus your age. A 30-year-old who exercises intensely has a heart rate of 133 to 171 beats per minute.
- You lose one pound when you burn 3,500 calories more than you eat. If you eat 3,000 calories per day, which is about what an active male should eat, you will lose one pound per week if you burn 3,500 calories per day. Women should eat about 2,400 calories per day.
- Virtually every “calorie burning” chart I looked at says that playing softball and playing baseball burns the same amount of calories on the average. Wisconsin’s Division of Public Health reports that 190-pound people will burn 431 calories per hour playing baseball, fast-pitch softball, and slow-pitch softball. Remember, though, that these are averages. If you expend as much energy as you have so you can throw a baseball 80 miles per hour, you will burn far more calories than if you lob a slow-pitch softball or do nothing in right field for nine innings.
- Playing positions that require more activity burns more calories than playing inactive positions. In other words, pitchers and catchers burn the most calories. The book “52-Week Baseball Training” reports that pitchers burn an average of 1,440 calories during a nine-inning baseball game, which lasts about three hours, while catchers burn 1,100 calories and other fielders burn 1,000 calories. The American College of Sports Medicine reports that 155-pound people burn 422 calories per hour pitching softball and 352 calories per hour playing softball or baseball.
- Playing softball ranks tied for 31st in calories burned among 53 “training and sports activities” listed in a Harvard Health Publications chart. You burn 372 calories per hour playing softball if you weigh 155 pounds. Softball is tied with skateboarding, walking 4.5 miles per hour, and kayaking. It burns more calories than volleyball, gymnastics, golfing with a cart, slow dancing and bowling. Running, bicycling, and swimming burn far more calories. Racquetball, soccer, basketball, tennis, fast dancing, and golfing while carrying your clubs also burn more calories.
Softball, and baseball might be a better exercise than you thought. Perhaps, you should ask the manager of your team if you can pitch or catch this season so you’re more active. Perhaps, you should try harder when you’re batting too. Expending more energy can improve your batting average, help you hit more home runs, and burn more calories.