Attending live sport increases well-being, according to a new study

Attending live sport increases well-being, according to a new study ...

According to a large-scale research from Anglia Ruskin University, participation in live sporting events improves subjective well-being and reduces loneliness, with the increase in happiness similar to the effect of becoming a professional.

This research, published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, demonstrates that participation in any form of live sports event improves mood and alleviates anxieties.

The Taking Part Survey, funded by the British Government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, used data from 7,209 adults aged 16 to 85 who participated in the Taking Part Survey.

Attending live sporting events results in enhanced subjective well-being, as well as reduced loneliness.

These findings are significant because previous studies have shown that higher life satisfaction scores are associated with fewer life-limiting illnesses, better physical health, and healthier ageing.

A recent research has shown that attending live sporting events increases people's confidence that "life is worthwhile," and that the increase is comparable to employment growth.

Many initiatives today emphasize the benefits of physical sports participation, but the researchers argue that live sporting events may also be a reliable and affordable public health intervention for improving well-being and reducing loneliness.

Dr. Helen Keyes, the head of Anglia Ruskin University's School of Psychology and Sport Science, said: "Ours is the first study to assess the health benefits of attending any sporting event with an adult population, and therefore our findings could help shape future public health initiatives, such as subsidizing ticket prices for some groups.

"The live events covered by the survey included free amateur matches, such as watching village sports teams, as well as Premier League football matches." Further investigation is needed to see if these benefits are more significant for elite-level sports, or are more closely related to supporting a specific team.

"However, we do recognize that live sport of any form provides many opportunities for social interaction, which aids in the forge of group identity and belonging, which reduces loneliness and improves wellbeing."

Helen Keyes, Sarah Gradidge, Nicola Gibson, Annelie Harvey, Shyanne Roeloffs, Magdalena Zawisza, and Suzanna Forwood, Frontiers in Public Health, 4 January 2023. DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.989706

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