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Attending Live Sport Improves Well-being

People watching live sport
People Watch Live Sport to Improve Well-Being & Mental Health. Credit: Marianne O’Leary / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

With the ever-growing number of adults watching sports, Dr. Helen Keyes and her team at Anglia Ruskin University have uncovered an exciting new link between attending sporting events and overall health benefits.

The feeling of anticipation that comes from attending a live sporting event is more than just enjoyable – it’s beneficial! New research has found that spectators’ experience improved well-being and connectedness following the game.

‘Taking Part Survey’ Associated With the Research

The Taking Part Survey was carried out between 2019 and 2020, and the research team from the Faculty of Psychology and Sport Science assessed the findings of the survey. This study polled 7,209 English people ranging in age from 16 to 85 years old and living in England.

According to the findings, the individuals who spectated live athletic events had much better levels of life satisfaction as well as a perception that their lives were “worthwhile.”

The benefits extend beyond just enhanced morale, as those with higher scores are known to have better physical health, successful aging processes, and even lower mortality rates!

Finding employment can provide similar results in terms of subjective well-being, but the impact of attending live sporting events shows no signs of waning – you can strengthen your well-being while enjoying all the excitement that comes along!

Future of the Study

The study is the first of its kind to explore this connection among a wide range of adult participants. Dr. Keyes said, “Ours is the first study to look at the benefits of attending any sporting event across an adult population, and therefore our findings could be useful for shaping future public health strategies, such as offering reduced ticket prices for certain groups.”

The survey looked at a wide variety of live events, ranging all the way from free local amateur competitions to professional football matches in the Premier League. Consequently, further study has to be done to determine if these advantages are more evident for high-level sports or whether they are more closely linked to supporting a particular team.

Live Sports Event
Live Sports Event. Credit: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

The authors of the study highlight that in order to promote attendance at live athletic events as a public health strategy, additional research will be required. This is especially true in terms of identifying the sorts of events that are most beneficial and focusing on certain demographics.

For instance, it could be more beneficial to target populations who are at greater risk of experiencing loneliness, or who have restricted access to social networks. Dr. Keyes said, “… we do know that watching live sport of all types provides many opportunities for social interaction and this helps to forge group identity and belonging, which in turn mitigates loneliness and boosts levels of well-being.”

She added, “Therefore, further research needs to be carried out to see if these benefits are more pronounced for elite level sport, or are more closely linked to supporting a specific team.”

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