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Study on soccer concludes that being bored out of your mind has health benefits

US Women’s Soccer team parades through New York City after winning World Cup

The USWNT celebrated its World Cup victory during a parade through New York City on July 10.
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The USWNT celebrated its World Cup victory during a parade through New York City on July 10.

We can all get a little healthier, right?

Well, I received an email recently that enlightened me of a study that concluded watching soccer makes people healthier.

So, of course my first thought was: “Duh. Everyone benefits from more sleep.”

But, unlike the sport itself, I found the fact they did a study on such a thing interesting. So, by reading up on the study, called “Your Body on Football” and conducted by BetVictor and the University of Leeds in England, I learned that those watching soccer had an increased heart rate during the match, they generally had blood pressure spikes before the contest and during halftime, and they saw their blood pressure lower and experienced reduced anxiety when their team won.

Wait, have we cured cancer yet? No? OK, back to the soccer study.

So the study also found that the games have a “significant” impact on fans’ mood.

“Researchers noticed a clear period of low mood that extended for days following a loss; however, the euphoria experienced after a win was much more fleeting, lasting only around 24 hours,” it reads.

You don’t say.

I don’t care much for soccer, but I think it’s pretty obvious that when a team you root for wins or loses, especially in a big game, your mood is affected.

The study’s results came from three matches, two of which were “legs” — whatever that means — of postseason play. I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say the playoff matches affected heart rate and blood pressure more.

Overall, the study — which used subjects aged 20-62 — concluded that “Watching soccer is good for your health.”

“The ‘positive stress’ from elevated heart rates was akin to a moderate cardiovascular workout – a positive health benefit,” it says.

Again, I’m not a fan of soccer, though I’ll tune in briefly for the World Cup or the Olympics. However, if watching a match is good enough to match a cardiovascular workout, I might just be willing to get on board — just as long as I can stay awake long enough to get the health benefits.

Sorry, soccer fans, but I find the sport extremely boring. There’s not much scoring and there’s a lot of running back and forth and standing around. That being said, I understand how popular the game is worldwide and respect it for that.

I know a lot of you — especially outside of the United States — are watching with heavy investment.

Perhaps that’s why many other countries’ people are healthier than us in the U.S., which lags behind when it comes to “football.” Instead, we specialize in throwing on pads and helmets and destroying each other.

Now that’s fun to watch.

Overall, I’m not real sure what exactly this study found that we couldn’t already surmise. Yes, fans are strongly connected to their teams — to the point where it will affect your mood for minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and sometimes even years. I don’t think that is exclusive to soccer, though.

But, the fact that it supposedly equates to a cardiovascular workout is worth noting. That’s a surprising — and interesting — finding.

It proves soccer is good for something.

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