Fall is the season of changing leaves, apple picking, back to school, and football. If you spend every Sunday (and Monday, and Thursday) watching football, it’s important to be mindful of your health. Don’t eat too much fried food, stand up at commercial breaks, and manage your stress. Here are a few ways that watching sports can affect your heart – and tips on how to mitigate those effects.
How Watching Sports Affects the Heart
Researchers have found an increase in heart attacks and arrhythmias and heart attacks during major sporting events like the Superbowl and World Cup. This is due to the stress and emotion we experience when watching a game.
When a game gets suspenseful or takes a disappointing turn, fans often feel stress. These feelings of stress and anger essentially trigger a fight-or-flight response, which causes heart rate and blood pressure to increase. All of these factors can trigger a cardiovascular event.
How to Manage Stress During a Big Game
If you experience high levels of stress while watching sports, take steps to manage and reduce those intense feelings. Take deep breaths, do a few stretches, and step away for a few minutes if needed. Also, try to eat healthy before and during the game, and limit the amount of alcohol you consume.
If you’re still feeling frustrated and angry after the game ends, channel it into physical activity to help release the stress.
Protect Your Health with CPR
Take care of your fellow football fans by learning hands-only CPR. You could save a life!
HeartCert CPR is your trusted training partner for CPR, ACLS, PALS, EMR, First Aid, CNA, IV, EKG and more.
HeartCert CPR courses include CPR/AED/First Aid, Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Certified Nursing Assistant training, IV training, EKG training, babysitter basics and more. Courses and certifications from both the American Heart Association and American Red Cross are available.
This is an updated blog post that was originally published in 2018.