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Can Watching Sport Be Bad For Your Health?

Playing sports can keep your body fit and even improve your mental health, but what about the people who prefer to spend more time watching their favourite players, whether in person at stadiums or at home on the couch?

There are certainly advantages to enjoying sports as a spectator, but to contrast the positive aspects of being in the audience, here are just a few ways that fans might be suffering in the passive pursuit of their passion.

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

The issue of stress

While the joy of seeing your team win a key game can be an amazing feeling, it is often fleeting and preceded by long periods of stress which can take its toll on your mental health.

Many fans will know that watching sport can be stressful, not only because of the ups and downs which occur in the action over the course of a given game but also because of the way you respond to particular personalities on the pitch.

Of course, stress is a complex emotion and one which has many causes as well as several solutions. It is simply a case of balancing out whether the anxiety you feel when watching sport is worth the payoff in the event that the outcome of the game or match is positive from your perspective.

The impact of inactivity

These days it is easier to access live sport than ever before. Whether watching TV broadcasts in real-time, tuning into events via online streaming services or following along on social media, there are hundreds of ways to see your favourite stars play without having to move a muscle.

This is great for fans who want to consume every possible piece of content associated with their preferred team or beloved player, but it does mean that there is the temptation to live a more sedentary life.

Of course even getting out and about to watch sport in the flesh is not without its dangers, as well as coming with plenty of other unhealthy temptations, such as drinking and eating to excess. All of these factors go together to make sport fandom a potentially challenging pastime from a health perspective.

The silver linings

In spite of the arguably negative physical and psychological effects of watching sport, there are of course a host of benefits that need to be taken into account.

People who enjoy sports as a spectator are also far more likely to participate in them personally, whether as part of a local team or in one-on-one friendly matches against friends and colleagues.

As well as helping you stay in shape, an interest in sport can be a great perk from a social point of view. Being a fan makes you part of a global community and although rivalries may exist between particular teams and stars, people who watch sport will have much more in common with one another than non-fans.

Ultimately, as with most things in life, watching sport is not a problem so long as you do it mindfully and in moderation.


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Written by Marcus Richards

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