Your rabid fandom is actually a good thing. (Photo: Stocksy/Yahoo)
There’s no question about it — being a sports fan is a good thing when it comes to your health.
“The idea that people get isolated and porky from watching sports is not true,” clinical sports psychologist William Wiener, PhD, tells Yahoo Health. “It actually connects people and serves as a social catalyst. There are many health benefits of being a sports fan.”
Need evidence? We rounded up the research surrounding fandom and health to show how your team loyalty might actually help you be happier and healthier:
It Prevents Depression
While you might feel sad if your team loses a big game, being an active participant all season can actually help prevent depression. “People who root and are attached to their teams are less depressed than those who are uninvolved,” Wiener says. “It’s a way in which people can engage in their world and stay active and interested in events in their world,” and this is associated with a lower risk of depression. Research backs this up: According to a study out of the University of Kansas, sports fans experience fewer bouts of depression and alienation compared with people who are uninterested in sports.
It Makes Your Relationship Stronger
Watching the game together as a couple can actually create a stronger bond between you and your partner. “There’s some research that suggests that couples who are in it together are more satisfied with their relationship,” Wiener says. “When couples join each other on the couch for Sunday football, they tend to be more satisfied with their relationship than if they completely split off during those times.”
It Could Help You Live Longer
Sure, going for a run and eating right are key factors in living a long and health life. And while you shouldn’t give those up, the social aspect of watching sports can also play a part in your longevity. “We know that people live longer and recover more quickly from an illness when they have strong cases of social support,” Wiener says. “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.” In fact, a Brigham Young University shows that maintaining a strong social network not only has benefits for longevity, it also improves odds of surviving cancer and warding off colds.