With the likes of Jackie Robinson, Roseboro and Cliff Johnson, just to mention a few, it is clear that Africans have left their mark on the baseball world. Baseball is huge in America and Japan, but it is fair to say that it is not popular in most countries around the world. However, it is slowly gaining popularity on the African continent, especially in countries such as South Africa and Uganda.
Why is Baseball on the Rise in These Countries?
In order for a sport to become popular in a country, the citizens of that country have to be exposed to it on a regular basis. This is what happens in South Africa and Uganda as baseball can be readily found in high schools and colleges in these two countries. This is not the case in other countries in Africa as sports such as soccer, cricket, and rugby are more readily available. The more youngsters that are exposed to baseball, the more likely it is that it will grow in popularity.
Another reason why baseball is growing in popularity in South Africa is the fact that their national team is actually pretty good at it. They are ranked 24th in the Baseball World Rankings, which is not bad when you consider the fact that soccer, rugby, and cricket are three other sports that are much more popular than baseball.
South Africa competed in the baseball at the 2000 Olympics, which also would have helped advertise the sport in South Africa. When the national team is good at something, more people pay attention to their matches and whatever competitions they are competing in. It is the complete opposite when a nation is not very good at a sport. For example, the Italian rugby team is pretty poor, so there are not many people in Italy who follow rugby; the majority are football supporters as their national team is pretty good.
The Health Benefits of Playing Baseball
Baseball is a great way of getting some vigorous exercise as well as improving coordination and reaction skills. African pupils that have access to baseball at school have a great way to stay fit and healthy. Furthermore, schools often arrange competitions between themselves, so those who are competing will get to meet other baseball fans from other schools. Below we have listed some of the health benefits that African youngsters can reap by playing baseball.
Playing a game of baseball, like any other sport, will force your heart to beat faster in order to send oxygenated blood to the muscles and organs that are in action. This will strengthen your heart and improve your lung capacity. A game of baseball takes around three hours to complete so your heart will be getting a considerable workout.
Studies have proven that an individual that weighs around 160 pounds can burn 365 calories while playing a game of baseball. The more a person weighs, the more calories they will burn when playing baseball. Physical activities boost your metabolic rate, which makes your body burn calories faster and get rid of that unwanted fat.
Strengthen Your Legs
When you are playing baseball, you have to use all of the major muscles in your legs. Moving sideways, throwing and squatting engages your calf muscles, glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. You will have lean and toned legs before you know it.