With the NCAA National Championship fresh on our minds, the Superbowl right around the corner, and the March Madness bracket on the horizon, it is currently a great time to be a sports fan. Many fans — particularly those with strong allegiance to a single sport or team — pour their passion into the games they watch. To some, these competitions may seem trivial and devoid of emotional implications, but to those who “get it,” the drama of big wins and losses is almost unparalleled in its resonance.
Put simply, it is fun to be a sports fan, but did you know that your fandom can also improve your health? It is true; sports fans have been linked to a variety of trends in improved health — both mental and physical.
An exercise in anxiety
Most dedicated sports fans have endured that game, where the scores are close, the tensions are high, and every second counts en route to a potential victory. If you have ever sat sweating over the build-up to a game tying field goal or a final second three-pointer, you have most likely given yourself a respectable calorie burning workout. The average person can burn around 100-200 calories when watching a game from a stationary position, and that is not even including the potential jumping, standing, and pacing that may come with an especially tense contest. Sudden changes in the action can also elicit a spike in heart rate, which can improve cardiovascular health in regular doses.
An emotional boost
There is perhaps nothing better than the euphoria we receive when our favorite team wins — especially if it is a victory over a heated rival or a tough opponent. These feelings can be far reaching in their impact on your health, and by associating with a successful and/or victorious team, you can actually make yourself happier. This fact is perhaps obvious to trace; identifying with happy players is infectious — it is human nature. Furthermore, fanhood is a powerful, at times intimate passion mechanism, and it can quickly manipulate our self-confidence in significant times of success and defeat. Just make sure to keep things as fun as possible.
An improvement in relationships
We not only identify with the players on our favorite teams, we also gain a communal mindset with other fans. As a result, game watching experiences can strengthen our relationships with those we share them with. The sometimes overpowering feelings associated with a competition’s results serve as the ultimate bonding factor, and they have been found to aid in relationship longevity over time.