New scientific research has found that attending live sporting events improves levels of well-being and reduces feelings of loneliness.
Published in the journal Frontiers in public healthThe research is the first large-scale study to examine the benefits of attending any type of live sporting event.
The study, conducted by academics from Anglia Ruskin University’s School of Psychology and Sport Science, used data from 7,209 adults, aged 16 to 85, living in England who took part in a take-part questionnaire, which was commissioned by the UK government’s Department for Digital Affairs. Culture, media and sports.
It found that attending live sporting events leads to higher scores on two major measures of subjective well-being — satisfaction with life and a sense that “life is worthwhile” — as well as lower levels of loneliness.
These findings are important as previous studies have shown that higher life satisfaction scores are associated with fewer life-limiting conditions, better physical health, aging success, and lower mortality rates.
The new study also found that attending live sporting events leads to an increase in people’s sense that “life is worthwhile,” and the magnitude of this increase is comparable to having a job.
Many initiatives are currently promoting the benefits of physical participation in sport, but researchers believe that watching live sporting events can also provide an accessible and effective public health tool for improving well-being and reducing feelings of loneliness.
Lead author Dr Helen Keyes, Chair of the School of Psychology and Sport Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said: “Previous research has focused on specific sports or small population samples, such as college students in the US. The study is the first to look at the benefits of attending any cross-sports event. adult population, and thus our findings could be useful in shaping future public health strategies, such as offering discounted ticket prices to certain groups.
“The live events surveyed ranged from free amateur events, such as watching village sports teams, all the way to Premier League football matches. Therefore, more research needs to be done to see whether these benefits are more pronounced for elite-level sport.”, or more related to supporting a particular team.
“However, we know that watching live sport of all kinds provides many opportunities for social interaction and this helps to form group identity and belonging, which in turn alleviates feelings of loneliness and enhances levels of well-being.”