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Watching Soccer May Have Positive Health Benefits


The health benefits of playing soccer are pretty well known – improved cardiovascular health, increased aerobic capacity, improved muscle tone, and lower body fat. Now a new study has found that merely watching soccer may have a positive impact on the body.



Twenty-five soccer fans between the ages of 20 and 62 participated in the study. They were monitored while watching three important soccer games during the run up to the championship game. They watched one game in a controlled environment and the other two live in the stadium. The researchers measured participants’ blood pressure and heart rates two days before a game, right before the game, at halftime, and after the game. Participants also completed a mood survey before and after the game.





The researchers found that participants heart rates increased by an average 17% when they were watching the game. This increased to 29% during the third game, which was a semi-final, with the winner advancing to the championship. This increase in heart rate is known as positive stress and is equivalent to a 90-minute brisk walk.





Participants’ blood pressure increased during matches, particularly right before the game and at half-time. However, when the participants’ team won the game, their blood pressure decreased, and they experienced a reduction in anxiety.





The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Leeds. 


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