6 Health Benefits of Being a Sports Fan
It is true that the stereotype of a sports fan is a big dude with a beer belly waving a big foam finger, but that doesn’t really reflect what being a sports fan does for your health.
In fact, there are several proven benefits of being a sports fan!
I’m personally an ENORMOUS fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, I have been my whole life and I can definitely say I have felt some of these benefits in a BIG way.
CHECK IT OUT!
1) IT PREVENTS DEPRESSION
This fun fact is backed up by a study out of the University of Kansas that concludes that sports fans experience fewer bouts of depression and alienation compared with people who are uninterested in sports.
Clinical sport psychologist William Wiener, PhD, speculates that this is because “it’s a way in which people can engage in their world and stay active and interested in events in their world.”
I can personally say that, living in Toronto when the winters are grey and I am susceptible to experiences Seasonal Affective Disorder (bouts of depression associated with lack of sunlight in the colder months), hockey and christmas are probably the two things that get me through!
It’s all about having something to get excited about AND getting excited WITH other people, which brings me to my next point.
2) IT COULD HELP YOU LIVE LONGER
It is actually social aspect of watching sports that may promote longevity! Wiener suggests that “people live longer and recover more quickly from an illness when they have strong cases of social support. If you have a group of people you watch a game with consistently who offer support when you are down, it does lead to longevity and can keep you active and engaged and alive longer.”
To bring the point home, a study out of Bringham Young University concludes that maintaining a strong social network increases longevity and may even help you kick colds!
3) IT COULD HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT
Now, you’re not going to lose weight by sitting on the couch, drinking beer, eating chips and cheering but the correlation here really comes down to the way that watching sports may inspire your to be more active.
I know that growing up watching the leafs made we want to play hockey! And I did! All the way through to high school - and it definitely helped me stay fit.
Even if you’re not inspired, if you do really get into a game, sit on the end of your seat and jump up when a player scores, at least you’re getting a little extra movement in than if you were watching just another episode of Riverdale (although that’s getting my heart pounding these days too!). In fact, the average woman may burn an extra 100 calories per hour watching a sports game!
4) IT KEEPS YOUR MIND SHARP
Again, the stereotype of the dumb jock doesn’t totally add up here. According to a study out of the University of Chicago, watching sports might improve your communication and help you stay organized! It turns out when we watch game, we experience brain activity in motor areas associated with planning, controlling and performing. The study suggests that spectator sports can help you absorb and digest information as well as get you geared up to take action!
This is great new for those looking to prevent Alzheimer’s, Dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders, as the more we activate different parts of the brain, the stronger it stays.
5) IT IMPROVES YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Research shows that sharing a common interest, like your favourite sports team, may boost your marital bliss.
Personally, I don’t think my husband and I would even be married right now if we weren’t both huge leafs fans! It’s what brought us together, took us on our first few dates and going through the devastating losses & triumphant wins together has bonded us like nothing else.
A media ethics professor out of Loyola Marymount University who has studied sports and relationships suggests “it doesn’t matter if he’s the sports fanatic or if she is; as long as they share the interest, they’ve got the edge over couples who are less accommodating and supportive, which can lead to stress and discontent.”
The same logic applies to your relationships with your friends and family. I will forever be bonded to my friends who wept under the table with me to the epic loss of the maple leafs to the boston bruins in game 10 of the stanley cup playoffs in 2013. And as for my family, it has always been such a blessing that since we are all die-hard hockey fans, we will always have something in common, something to get excited for together, cheer for together, and get angry about together. It also finds times to pull us from our separate corners of the GTA to all watch a game side by side, whenever we can. My family is a hockey family and I think that is part of what keeps us all so close.
6) ENHANCES LIBIDO
This may be connected to the health benefit above.
If your team wins, the excitement is likely to carry into the bedroom as you’ll both experience a big boost in testosterone, a libido-enhancing hormone.
So, my friends, being a sports fan is SEXY!
All of these benefits are awesome, right? Now, it doesn’t by any means suggest that you can give up eating healthy and exercising, but connecting to a sports team with friends and loved ones could be a fantastic addition to your health regime!