What watching sports does to your health (it’s not pretty!)

what watching sports does to your healthWith the odds of picking a perfect NCAA basketball tournament bracket only one in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808, you probably got worked up at least a few times during the tournament so far (maybe when Michigan State lost to UConn or Kentucky beat Michigan?). Unfortunately, not only can buzzer-beater shots and come-from-behind victories hurt your bracket, they can also cause harm to your health.

Research from the University of Phoenix confirms that you don’t have to be a college basketball player in order to experience some of the physical side effects of the game. Watching a high stake game can prompt a 300 to 400 percent increase in blood flow pumped out of the heart. As a result of this increased force and pressure, people with high blood pressure issues can experience damage to their interior lining of their blood vessels. Additionally, all of the tense moments can actually cause your arteries to constrict due to perceived bodily stress, briefly elevating the chance of heart attack or stroke.

Additionally, if your team loses, it can also wreak havoc on your waistline. A study from France found that fans tend to eat more food and fattier items the day after their favorite team loses. In contrast, fans of winning teams tend to eat lighter food and keep it in moderation the next day. While it can be tough to remember that sports are “just a game,” try to put a loss in perspective next time–your heart and stomach will thank you.


Photo credit: evansent

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