The image of an overweight, middle-aged man sat pigging out on snacks in his sweats, cheering on his favorite sports team on the sofa is a dated stereotype. People that watch sports on TV are actually more likely to play sports. They are more likely to exercise, spend time with friends, feel part of a community and have better mental health.
Watching sports, whether it’s soccer, boxing fights, racing, athletics or anything else, can have an enormous impact on your physical, mental and emotional health. It can even help to balance your hormones. It’s certainly not lazy, and the effects can be felt whether you watch sports once a month, or a few times a week, or whether you watch at home alone, with friends, or out of the house.
Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of watching sports, however, and wherever you do it.
Exercise isn’t easy for all of us. In fact, if you haven’t exercised regularly since high-school gym, getting back into it can seem tough, and the longer you leave it, the harder it starts to get. The idea of walking into a busy gym, filled with fit muscle men that know exactly what they are doing can be terribly intimidating. You might struggle to run for a bus, so “going for a run” is out of the question, and when that wall has come down, your fitness levels are dropping all the time, and motivation is lower than ever, there are no easy ways into exercise.
Watching sports can be your way back into playing them. You might be inspired by the athletes that you enjoy watching. You might just want to be more involved in the sport that you love so much. If you’ve got kids, you might want them to have classes and join teams, which could lead to you practicing with them in your garden and the park. Armchair supporters don’t have to stay armchair supporters, and actually, those people that are genuinely passionate about the sports that they love to watch, are more likely to take part, try it themselves, and to exercise more than those people with no interest in sport at all.
You Could Become Part of a Community
Loneliness and isolation is a massive problem in modern society, especially as we get older, or for those of us that live alone. Even people that live with their families can feel very alone, as we all work long hours, have responsibilities outside work, and often spend more time scrolling through our social media feeds than we do having a real conversation with the people that are sitting on the sofa with us.
The world is more connected than it has been at any point in the past, and yet more people are lonely, and feeling like they have nothing in common with the people in their lives.
Watching sports gives you something in common with people. You can use sports to bond with your family, watching together without other distractions, and having something to talk about for days afterwards. You can talk to the people that you work with about the games that you have watched, and invite your friends around for significant sporting events.
If you watch sports out of the home, at bars and other locations, you’ll make connections with the other people there, and you may even form relationships with online sports fans. When you watch sport, you are part of something much bigger. You become part of that community, and you’ve got an easy ice breaker when it comes to starting conversations, making new connections and building or repairing relationships.
Sports Give You Something To Look Forward To
It’s always good to have something to look forward to. It stops the weeks blending into each other, and life passing you by without note. Without things to look forward to it can feel as though you are just going through the motions of life, for the sake of it, instead of really living.
Watching a sport on TV might seem like a small thing, but it can give you something to look forward to, and if you follow a team or particular sport, this becomes a regular thing. There’s always something coming up to get you through the tough days and break your life up. You might take an interest in your sports news, statistics and reports, which means that you always have something to do when you are bored, and you may actively seek more ways to get involved. This can give you a wonderful mental health boost.
Watching Sport Can Give You a Quick Mood Boost
Sometimes, we just need a quick pick me up. Something that makes us happy, an enjoyable way to pass the time or something that takes our mind off our worries and stresses. Having things in our lives that make us happy, even for a short amount of time, is great for our emotional and mental health. If you love watching sports, and they make you feel happy, that’s fantastic.
Sports are a Great Outlet for Negative Energy
Tension, stress, negative thoughts, anger and frustration, are normal parts of life. But, without an outlet, this negative energy can take over. It can start to affect you in your day to day life, making it hard to focus, or sleep, and harming your relationships.
Watching sports can be an excellent release. Get annoyed with the ref, shout at the TV, kick every ball from your sofa and release everything that’s wound up inside you. You might just sleep better.
Sports Can Keep Your Mind Active
As we age, our minds start to weaken, and we find it harder to remember things. Keeping your mind active is a great way to delay this; keeping your mind young and strong. Sports offer a great way to test your memory and keep your mind turning.
Reflected Glory is Great
When your team wins, you feel as though you have won. While it might only be reflective glory, it can still make you feel proud, happy and high on life. Any glory is good, whether you have earned it, or you are just basking in it.
It Could Boost Your Mental Health
All these things might seem fairly small on their own, but actually, by fighting loneliness, making conversations easier, giving you something to look forward to and regularly boosting your mood, watching sports could have a significant effect on your mental health.
But, it can work the other way too. If you become obsessed, you do little else, you stop talking about anything else, you don’t exercise, or even leave your house, and those occasional treats while watching a match become your everyday diet, then, watching sports stops being good for you. Like everything else that’s positive when enjoyed in moderation, watching too many sports on TV could hurt your physical and mental health. If you feel like it’s becoming an obsession, try to make changes. Get out more, develop new hobbies, and find other ways to connect with people.
So, if you love sports, carry on. Watch those that you enjoy, and let yourself feel good about it. If you aren’t a massive sports fan, perhaps now is the time to try. Think about sports that you have played or enjoyed in the past, local teams and groups, sports that your friends watch, and anything that is on TV regularly and give it a go. But, remember that watching sports for the sake of it won’t work. If you don’t enjoy it, the benefits won’t be the same. Try to find something that you love, or gain enjoyment from, whether you just watch, or you get more involved.