Did you know that die-hard sports fans like Michael T Eckhardt enjoy many social and health benefits simply by rooting for their favorite teams? It might seem too good to be true, but check out just of few of these benefits for yourself!
You burn more calories than you think…
Think about the last game you went to or watched – did you spend the entire time sitting quietly? Probably not! Actively watching a game involves lots of standing up, waving arms, yelling and dancing around. At a particularly exciting game you might even spend more time standing than sitting. Add to this a fast heart rate and you may find that you have torched a surprising number of calories. As long as you don’t overdo it on game-time snacks, you might finish the game a bit lighter than you started!
It keeps the mind active
In addition to keeping the body more active than you might have realized, watching sports is also a workout for the brain. A few years ago, a study revealed that the brains of sports fans show more activity in areas responsible for control, planning and performance. Fast moving games, especially with complex rules or plays, will also help keep you mind sharp as they require you to actively watch and analyze the action – watching sports is never a passive undertaking.
It releases tension
There is a reason that people sometimes yell in frustration, cheer with happiness, or scream in anger – all of these are ways that the body releases tension. Whether you are cheering or booing, the effect is the same as long as you keep it in perspective. You feel more relaxed and calm as a result!
It makes us feel connected
In a number of different ways, whether you are watching the game in your living room with friends or family or in a stadium with thousands of other fans, participating in a common activity is an important way to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves. Psychologists point out that this “we-feeling” is very important to our mental health, and note that people who stay connected to the world around them are less likely to suffer from a whole host of mental health issues, including depression.
It models positive values
The entire sports ethos is built around the core values of team-work, good sportsmanship, commitment and hard work. To understand how important these values are, think about the relatively rare instances in which athletes have been found guilty of doping or rigging. The outrage that is expressed in the face of this cheating illustrates just how central the idea of fair play is in the world of sports. In this sense, not only for ourselves, but for younger sports fans, positive values are modeled that we can and should take with us in other areas as well.
So, if you needed an excuse to paint your face and wear a giant foam finger, wait no more! Be sure to enjoy your next game doubly, knowing that your fan support is good not only for your team but also for yourself!