For college basketball fans, the NCAA tournament is like heaven – and with a host of upsets, there’s certainly no lack of excitement in this year’s Sweet Sixteen. But guess what: basketball is just as fun to plat as it is to watch. To inspire you to get off the couch and head out for a pick-up game (though we certainly don’t intend for you to miss any games – everyone knows staring at the TV prevents your bracket from being busted), here’s the top 3 reasons to take a break from the tube and start your own tournament.

Aerobic health – All the running and jumping is a fabulous aerobic workout, right up there with running – but the pivoting, feinting, and directional changes required by a game of basketball give you the increased flexibility in your joints and muscles that running just can’t.

Overall coordination – The skill you’ll develop directing the ball into the hoop will strengthen your eye-hand coordination and overall spatial relations…which will, of course, make it that much easier to wield the remote with gumption during the tournament.

Emotional balance/fun – If you usually head to the gym alone, playing with friends or a pick-up league helps you switch up your workout and introduce a social element that’s too often given short shrift. By having fun with others, the time will go quicker and you’ll be far less likely to come up with all those convenient excuses for not working out.

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