Sports fans: Cheering for the Chiefs, Royals or another of your favorite teams is good for your health

sports fans

Football season is upon us once again. Whether you’re one of those who are casual sports fans or a true fanatic, cheering for your team can bring highs and lows. But did you know that it can also encourage good health?

That’s not just some lip service from ESPN or Fox Sports. Research shows sports fans are active, engaged and in better health, thanks to their allegiance with a favorite team.

Here are some of the specific benefits:

Sense of community: Sports fans have a built-in connection with others and with their environment. Feeling like a part of something is important for well-being. For sports fans, the simple act of going to a game or wearing a team shirt can create opportunities to connect. Maybe it’s a conversation in line at the concession stand, or a stranger giving you a high-five for wearing your gear out on the street. These bonds are building blocks of our emotional wellbeing.

Positive outlook: Sports fans aren’t more aggressive than folks who don’t follow sports. Instead, they’re actually less lonely and have higher self-esteem. Even if they don’t watch a game with other fans, just knowing they’re part of a larger group has long-term effects. Fans report lower levels of depression. They’re also less lonely, even when the game isn’t on.

Longer life: Research shows people with strong social networks live longer. And studies have shown these relationships help people heal faster after injury and ward off colds. They can even improve the odds of surviving cancer! Fan communities are real social networks. If fans feel connected, supported, and active, other areas of their lives will be energized, too.

Inspiration: The stereotype of the couch potato fan is unfair. Many folks who follow sports find themselves motivated to be active as well. Research shows watching sports keeps movement and exercise in people’s minds. There are even studies linking wearing a favorite team’s gear while exercising with increased weight loss.

Success: We can all use the adrenaline rush of winning. And in “real” life, that can be hard to come by. After all, no one cheers when we meet a tough deadline or empty the dishwasher. But following sports is different. It allows fans to feel victorious, and that’s a joy that can be rare. We should take it when we can.

There is a ton of research about how following sports can impact our lives.

If you want to learn more, check out “Sports Fans: The Psychology and Social Impact of Spectators,” by Daniel L. Wann, who must be a great guy – he’s a fan of the Kansas City Royals and KU. What was that about community?

Dr. Lynn McIntosh is a board-certified chiropractor. In addition to being licensed to provide general chiropractic care, she is also a certified chiropractic sports physician, working with athletes from multiple disciplines on specific sports-related problems. She’s also a certified acupuncturist. To learn more call 816-753-4600 or visit

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