Dedicated sports fans like Michael T Eckhardt already know that they feel great when they are in the bleachers cheering for their favorite teams. But did you know that there is evidence that supports the idea of being a sports fan actually contributes to your sense of well-being and actually has some health benefits as well? Read on to understand more about how being a fan is good for your health.
Couch quarterbacks are pretty active
True, watching your favorite sports does require as much effort as actually playing your favorite sport, but that doesn’t mean it is an entirely passive activity. Watching and cheering from the bleachers involves a fair bit of moving around, standing and sitting, and elevated heart rates. Even better if you are watching it on a field or in a standing room only sports pub.
Watching can be a step towards doing
Many people report that they are inspired to ramp up their involvement in playing sports as a result of watching them. Whether it is a familiarity with the game that makes people want to test their own abilities, or the thrill of being part of a team, watching sports makes it more relatable, and more likely that you will give it a try.
Rooting for the same team builds relationships
There are few things more exciting than people in a stadium full of people who are all pulling for the same team – collective moments of cheering or disappointment, everyone wearing the same jersey, or doing the wave are all powerful ways to make us feel connected to each other. On a less grand scale, watching a game with friends has the same effect of building comradery and a sense of commonality. Psychologists explain it in terms of a tribal impulse that we have to be a part of a time. We are social creatures, and our bodies and minds benefit from memberships in supportive groups.
It keeps the mind active
It isn’t always easy to keep your eye on the ball, especially in a fast-paced game. However, the very act of trying to closely follow the plays the in context of the rules helps to keep your mind sharp. In fact, a 2008 study showed that sports fans showed higher levels of brain function in the areas responsible for planning, control and performance when listening to a sports broadcast than non-fans.
It can stave off depression
The physical and social aspects of cheering for your team can actually help to keep depression at bay. Studies confirm that a key to avoiding depression is to maintain supportive relationships and to remain engaged in the world around us.
In all of these different ways, there are clear benefits that come from being a sports fan! So the next time you feel like taking in the game, be sure to invite your friends to do the wave in your living room!