When it comes to sports, are you a rabid face-painting, tail-gating fan, or do you just like watching games and cheering on your chosen team from home?
With the Super Bowl coming up, this seems to be a fitting time to think about what sports-watching does for us. Aside from being a popular pastime, watching sports can surprisingly bring you health benefits in a number of ways. So get ready to take notes (especially if you need a good argument when your significant other accuses you of paying too much attention to the game!)
It improves your social well-being
Uniting with others over your chosen team allows you to connect with others. Being a fan can thus be a social catalyst and help us to develop support networks, while increasing our sense of belonging.
It prevents depression
A University of Kansas study found that, overall, sports fans experienced fewer bouts of depression and anxiety and also had improved self-esteem. Just try to keep those big losses in perspective, and remember that it is just a game!
Watching together can strengthen your relationship
Rooting together can create a stronger bond with your partner, and it can also give a boost to your sex life since adrenaline-pumping situations can heighten men’s and women’s libido (a team’s win has also been shown to heighten testosterone levels of male fans, although the opposite can happen if the team loses)
It could help you live longer! (Yes, really!)
Thanks to the social networking function of sports fandom, rooting for your favorite team with others can increase your lifespan and help you combat disease. Those more socially embedded have been shown to have increased longevity.
It keeps your brain active
Research from the University of Chicago shows that regularly listening to or watching sports actually stimulates different areas of your brain more than regular daily tasks, improving neurological functions around visualization, strategy, planning, and reaction.
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