Here’s a reason to cheer: Being a sports fan can be a slam-dunk for your health. Win or lose, research shows that when you root for your home team, your health can come out on top.
For example, sports fans experience:
- Escape— You get a temporary distraction from problems in your everyday life. Forget about that weird sound your car is making and focus on the game.
- Stress relief—Watching a game gives you a rush that can help you chill out.
- Friendship—Whether you break out the body paint together or not, you feel more connected with others who support the same teams.
- Self-esteem boost—Following a team makes you feel better about yourself.
- Happiness—Even if you’re reeling from your team’s loss, being a devoted fan brings you pleasure, which may buffer against depression.
Your favorite players are at the top of their game—and there’s no reason you can’t be, too. Here are some ways being a sports fan can inspire healthier habits in your life:
- Join a sports league or toss a ball with your kids. You may not be LeBron James or Lionel Messi, but increasing your physical activity can help you lose weight, prevent disease, and keep your mind sharp.
- Get off the bleachers and walk up and down the sidelines while attending your kids’ sports games. (You can cheer AND walk at the same time, we promise!)
- No benchwarmers allowed: Do exercises, stretch, or ride a stationary bike while watching your team play on TV.
- Listen to games while walking, running, cycling, mowing the lawn, or doing yard work.
At your next tailgate party, try offering healthier food options alongside the classics, such as air-popped popcorn and sparkling water. Bonus: They probably won’t make as big of a mess as barbecue ribs when you leap up for a touchdown dance.