New research has shown that attending live sporting events improves well-being and reduces feelings of loneliness.
It is published in the journal The limits of public healthstudy is the first large-scale study to examine the benefits of attending any type of live sporting event.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Ruskin University School of Psychology and Sport Science, used data from 7,209 adults aged 16-85 living in England who took part in the Taking Part Survey, which was commissioned by the UK’s Department for Digital Government. , Culture, Media and Sports.
Attendance at live sporting events was found to lead to higher scores on two key measures of subjective well-being – life satisfaction and feeling “life is worth living” – as well as lower levels of loneliness.
These findings are important because previous research has shown that higher life satisfaction scores are associated with fewer life-limiting conditions and better physical health, successful aging, and lower mortality.
The new study also found that attending live sporting events increases people’s sense of “life is worth paying attention to” and the magnitude of this increase is comparable to getting a job.
Many initiatives now promote the benefits of physical participation in sports, but researchers believe that watching live sports events can also be an affordable and effective health tool to improve well-being and reduce loneliness.
Lead author Dr Helen Keys, head of the School of Psychology and Sport Science at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said: “Previous research has focused on specific sports or small population samples such as college students in the United States. Ours is the first study to examine the benefits attendance at any adult sporting event, and our findings may therefore be useful in shaping future public health strategies, such as offering reduced ticket prices to specific groups.
“Live events covered by the survey ranged from free amateur events such as watching village sports teams to Premier League football matches. Therefore, more research is needed to see if these benefits are more pronounced for elite sports. , or more closely related to supporting a particular team.
“However, we do know that watching all types of live sporting events provides many opportunities for social interaction and this helps to build group identity and belonging, which in turn reduces feelings of loneliness and increases levels of well-being.”