I don't know about you, but whenever there's a soccer tournament, my eyes are glued to the TV screen. I go all out: I paint my face, bombard social media with fan tweets, and rock my favorite jerseys. Sometimes I get a little crazy, but as it turns out, my passion for soccer can be a really good thing. In fact, studies have shown that being a sports fan has multiple physical and mental health-related benefits. So if you haven't already, take a break from your busy life and watch the Copa América tournament — you may live longer because of it. Don't believe me? Check out these four health-related benefits of being a sports fanatic.
1. Fandom can help lower levels of sadness. Daniel Wann, a sports psychology professor at Murray State University, explains that because a fandom creates a sense of community, you are more likely to build connections and not feel as lonely. “The simple fact is that people are looking for ways to identify with something, to feel a sense of belonging-ness with a group of like-minded individuals,” Wann told the Huffington Post.
2. Watching a live sport burns calories. When you account for walking to and from the stadium and the leaping and cheering throughout, watching a live sports event is definitely a workout. A woman who weighs about 150 pounds can burn more than 100 calories per hour at a live sporting event, according to POPSUGAR. Even if you're watching a game at home, you can burn some calories by standing up and socializing with other fans. However, don't give up your regular workout routine.
3. Being a fan may prevent depression. Dr. William Wiener, a clinical sports psychologist, told Yahoo Health, “People who root and are attached to their teams are less depressed than those who are uninvolved. It’s a way in which people can engage in their world and stay active and interested in events in their world.”
4. You'll live longer. Dr. Wiener also stated that fandom, which is essentially a social network, can help you live a long and healthy life. “We know that people live longer and recover more quickly from an illness when they have strong cases of social support,” Wiener said. “If you have a group of people you watch a game with consistently who offer support when you are down, it does lead to longevity and can keep you active and engaged and alive longer.”