Study Finds Watching Football Is Good For Your Health

Have you ever been told that you watch TOO much football? Well, a recent study has revealed that watching the beautiful game is actually good for your health.

BetVictor partnered with the University of Leeds Biomedical department to analyse 25 Leeds United fans throughout three key games of their 2018/19 Championship season.

In total, 25 football fans aged between 20 and 62 were analysed to discover the health effects of watching live football.

The participants were split into three participant groups: Fans of Leeds United for 0-10 years, 20-30 years and 40+ years.

Image: PA
Image: PA

These groups were then physiologically and psychologically monitored in the games against Brentford (in a controlled environment) and the two-playoff semi-final matches against Derby (at each stadium).

They tracked three key factors as part of our study; heart rate, blood pressure and mood.

Blood pressure was taken a couple of days before each match to give a base rate, immediately before the match, at half time and then immediately following the final whistle.

Participants were also served a mood survey and interviewed after each match to form part of our psychological analysis.

Image: PA
Image: PA

So what were the key findings?

The 'positive stress' from elevated heart rates was akin to a moderate cardiovascular workout - a positive health benefit.

Watching your team win also resulted in the lowering of blood pressure - another positive health benefit.

Psychologically, a win was found to improve participants' mood for a period of 24 hours, while a loss resulted in an extended period of low mood.

The study revealed that football fans are likely addicted to the 'highs' associated with winning.

Of course, the longer fans supported the club, the more pronounced were the accompanying physiological and psychological effects.

Image: BetVictor
Image: BetVictor

Image: BetVictor
Image: BetVictor

Compared to the controlled environment, watching live football at either the home or away stadium increased participants' heart rates by 11%: Matchday goers really do suffer for their team.

Dr. Andrea Utley, Reader in Motor Control and Development at the University of Leeds said:

"It was clear that fans were passionate about the game with heart rate elevated during the match to a similar level to that when going for a brisk walk (generally 20% higher than resting heart rate)." she told BetVictor.

"A goal for either team caused a brief increase in heart rate of an average of 20bpm from the match average.

'Ultimately supporting your team at a football match gives you a moderate cardiovascular workout and depending on the result of the match, a psychological boost or slump."

So there we have it, the beautiful game can give you a moderate cardiovascular workout and either a physical boost or slump.

Next time someone says you watch too much football, show them this.

Jack Kenmare

Jack Kenmare is a writer at SPORTbible. He's interviewed some huge names in the world of sport, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pele, Carles Puyol and Tim Henman. He dabbles in all things sport, but football is his biggest passion. He was once hit in the head by a wayward strike from Nicky Butt and lived to tell the tale.

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