Attending live sports may be good for your well-being: research
If you're feeling alone or dissatisfied, a new research suggests that watching live sports in person may help you to improve your level of well-being and reduce that feeling of loneliness.
Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University's School of Psychology and Sport Science analyzed data from 7,209 adults, aged 16-85 and located in England, to examine the benefits of attending any type of live sporting event.
According to the research published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, attending live sporting events increases life satisfaction and decreases a person's level of loneliness.
Researchers found that those respondents who had attended a live sporting event within the past year, compared to people who had not, were more likely to say they were satisfied and had a greater sense of “life being worthwhile.” Researchers observed the same impact with loneliness.
Previous studies have revealed that higher life satisfaction scores are connected with fewer life-limiting conditions and better physical health, successful ageing and lower mortality rates.
“Previous research has focused on specific sports or small population samples, such as college students in the United States,” Helen Keyes, who leads the research, 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.”
Researchers compared the impact of attending live sporting events with being employed, saying the size of the increase in benefits is comparable. They said physical participation in sport improves well-being and reduces loneliness, as well.
The U.K. research is the first large-scale study to examine the benefits of attending these events in person, and researchers say further study is needed to determine whether the level of sport and if supporting a specific team make a difference.
“However, 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 wellbeing,” added Keyes.