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Being a sports fan would be good for your mental and physical health

Do you support a football team? Did you follow the Tour de France from start to finish? You might just be a real supporter. But, while supporting a team can sometimes be time-consuming, it could also be good for your mental health and physical condition. This information emerges from a study carried out by the English company specializing in sport, Better. But what do the fans really think? We asked the question to Mathurin Serelle, Louis Claerebout and Margaux Dubrulle, three young sports fans.

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Mental health benefits

First of all, according to this study, supporting a team or an athlete may well improve your mental health. Indeed, more than half of men believe that being a fan of a team is good for morale. If not everyone thinks that, it’s probably because of the results. “It depends on who we support. Personally, I am for Lyon in football. Morally, it feels good when you win. But, when you lose, it can also be a little depressing. When the team is not well, I am not well either. There is a kind of correlation between my physical and mental health and the results of my team“, explains Mathurin Serelle, a young football fan.

The main reason for this psychological well-being is linked to the cohesion between the fans: “When my team wins, I walk home. I sing and replay the highlights of the match with the other supporters. We are just happy with the result“, develops Louis Claerebout, a fan of the Mouscron team.

Supporting a team isn’t just beneficial for men. Among women, this trend is also felt: 46% of women believe that being surrounded by other supporters affects their psychological well-being. “In the stadium, we are surrounded by people who support the same team as us. And we can find ourselves next to people that we don’t know, and that we will never see again. However, when we score a goal, we sometimes hug each other, shout or even sing with them. The group is made up of people who don’t know each other, but who all live together during the match. Our hearts beat in unison. It’s a communion that can be scary when you observe it from the outside but, when you’re inside, it’s great“, comments Margaux Dubrulle, a big fan of many sports.

This sense of belonging is also felt by 35% of respondents to the survey. For them, the important thing is not so much to watch the sport, but rather to live an experience: “We belong to a community. We watch the same sport, we support the same team. It’s almost more important to be part of the collective of people who follow the team, than to be a true supporter of the sport. Some don’t come for the sport itself, but because they like the atmosphere“, explains Mathurin Serelle, “when you look at a national team, you have this national unity in addition. Even without being patriotic, you feel proud to be represented at an international level“. A feeling shared by Margaux Dubrulle: “When it affects a national team, the emotion is even greater. You tell yourself that we can be millions behind the same people“.

According to the Better site, these benefits are even greater now, taking into account the past few years with the isolation, cancellation of sporting events and mental health problems linked to the pandemic. The reopening of the HORECA also has its role to play. Especially among rugby fans, who are the most likely to go to bars to watch matches.

In addition to other supporters, supporting a team would also strengthen family and friendship ties. Indeed, more than half believe they share a privileged moment with their loved ones during sporting events. Margaux Dubrulle remembers: “This passion for sport comes from my dad. When I was 6 years old, he took me on his shoulders so that I could see the Tour de France. When I was 10, he took me to see my first game in a stadium. It all started from there. It’s more than sharing this together, it’s him who gave me his passion. Sharing sport brings us closer, without even having to talk“.

Motivation to exercise

For a third of respondents, supporting a team would also motivate them to practice a sport. The most sporty would also be Formula 1 fans, followed by football fans, more than one person in three of whom do at least 60 minutes of sport a day. For Louis Claerebout, watching football players would be a good inspiration: “I play football too. When you see a match, you say to yourself that you would like to be a professional player, that you would like to be in their place and experience this atmosphere like them. We want to follow what they do, and we try to be inspired by what we see on the ground“. A remark that Mathurin Serelle approves: “If we practice a sport, we will necessarily be inspired by those who have a better level. It doesn’t push me to do a lot of sport, but it makes me want to do it. It makes me want to play football. When we see a beautiful gesture, we want to reproduce it“.

Physical fitness also depends on diet. On this side, the best students are among cricket fans. Contrary to physical activity, Formula 1 fans would be the least likely to eat their 5 regulation fruits and vegetables per day.

To discover the rest of the investigation, go to the site of Better.

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