Mar 27, 2023 - Sports

Sports are good for the soul

Illustration of a smiling earth wearing a sweatband.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Feeling blue? Try sports.

Driving the news: New research has found that attending live sporting events improves levels of well-being and reduces feelings of loneliness.

Details: The study used data from a nationwide survey of 7,209 adults, aged 16-85, living in England. The survey asked them about their lives, and included questions about their in-person sports viewing habits.

  • Researchers found that attending live sporting events — from free amateur events to professional Premier League matches — resulted in higher life satisfaction scores and lower loneliness scores.
  • The study also found that live sports attendance leads to an increase in people's sense that "life is worthwhile," and the size of this increase is comparable to that of gaining employment.

What they're saying: The study's lead author, Dr. Helen Keyes of Anglia Ruskin University, believes these findings "could be useful for shaping future public health strategies, such as offering reduced ticket prices for certain groups."

The bottom line: Playing sports is good for the body. Watching sports in person is good for the soul.

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