Research Suggests Attending Live Sporting Events Can Boost Sense of Wellbeing and Reduce Loneliness, Both Important Factors in Optimal Brain Health
Take me out to the ballgame! Those immortal words evoke images of an enjoyable afternoon rooting for the home team. Taking in a ballgame also may help support brain health, new research suggests.
Attending live sporting events has been associated with increased levels of life satisfaction and decreased levels of loneliness, according to a new study from the United Kingdom. Mood and loneliness have long been identified as key factors in staying mentally sharp.
Going to sporting events has been shown to increase one’s subjective wellbeing (SWB), according to the study based on survey data of 7,209 adults, aged 16-85, living in England.
The positive effects may be due to the relational nature of going to a game, researchers suggested. By providing opportunities for regular social interaction, attending sporting events creates improved experiences of group identity and belonging. For older adults, attending local sporting events increases emotional support, which in turn increases a sense of belonging and SWB, they added.
Loneliness and social isolation are associated with various health issues, including mild, age-related cognitive decline, notes the National Institute on Aging, which encourages seniors to find ways of becoming socially engaged.
For its part, the British government currently encourages active sports engagement. The researchers suggest that such initiatives could also encourage passive sports engagement as a way to increase life satisfaction.
“[Live sporting events attendance] may present an accessible, scalable and effective tool for improving the public’s wellbeing and reducing loneliness,” they conclude.