Is watching sport as good as playing it?

first_img Support The Guardian Topics Fitness Since you’re here… Share on WhatsApp Ice hockey I haven’t been to the gym for two weeks, but it’s fine: I just need to watch sport on television. A study from the University of Montreal has found that watching ice hockey substantially increases your heart rate. For television-watchers, the increase was an average 75%, while for those watching live it rose by 110%. This is equivalent, say the researchers, to moderate and vigorous exercise respectively. Heart rates were highest during overtime and if there were scoring chances.The solutionAs with all research, you have to ask if the results are applicable to people outside of the study. In this case, maybe not – not everyone finds ice hockey exciting, after all.However, there is other research showing that watching football can stress the heart so much that it triggers strokes and heart attacks. A study of German fans compared heart rates and blood pressure as they watched their country play in the 2006 World Cup. Both heart rate and blood pressure were raised – thought to be due to adrenaline release – when they watched their own team, and stayed higher for hours afterwards.The Canadian study (which claims to be the first to measure the pulses of people watching an ice hockey game) was prompted by an observation made by 13-year-old Leia Khairy, daughter of Prof Paul Khairy, the lead researcher. She noticed that while her own heart was pumping as she played soccer, the parents on the sidelines were jumping up and down even more energetically.But Khairy is very clear: “Watching an ice hockey game is not a substitute for physical activity. It raises heart rate (and likely also increases blood pressure, although this was not measured in our study) but does not carry the same benefits on cardiovascular health as exercise.”There is also no weight-bearing among spectators, apart from the occasional leaping from a seat – so muscles are not being exercised. More of a worry is that watching sport causes emotional stress, which research shows can trigger heart attacks in people who already have underlying heart disease. In this respect, watching ice hockey joins other known triggers for cardiovascular events such as hot weather, holidays, earthquakes, sex and cocaine use.The study of German football fans found that a stressful match more than doubled the risk of a heart attack or a stroke. So it may be that you need to be fit before you watch a sporting event, rather than hope it is the equivalent of a short burst of exercise. Studies have only shown a significant effect on men, and there is no correlation between a fan’s emotional connection with a team and the triggering of a heart attack. The authors of the Canadian paper suggest that anyone watching an exciting game should take seriously any symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath. Share on Messenger Health & wellbeing featurescenter_img Share via Email … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Dr ­Dillner’s health dilemmas Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Reuse this contentlast_img read more

USMNT’s final exam against France will be brutal

first_imgUnited States Youthful USMNT squad’s final exam will be a brutal one as full-strength France awaits Ives Galarcep 04:18 6/9/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) USA Ireland international friendly 2018 Dan Mullan United States France v United States France Friendlies The third of the U.S. national team’s three pre-World Cup friendlies sees the Americans taking on a stacked French side in its final World Cup tuneup Since the current U.S. national team was thrown together with a collection of youngsters still finding their feet as professionals, let alone internationals, we have heard about the tests being thrown their way.First there was a Bolivia B team, in a home game that could be best described as a cushy pop quiz . Then came a trip overseas, to take on a more mature Republic of Ireland squad in a mid-term exam that showed the young Americans just how much they have to learn .That loss to Ireland provided a dose of reality, which should ensure the U.S. team has its eyes wide open heading into Saturday’s friendly against France, a powerhouse and World Cup contender boasting some of the best players in the world. The French will deploy their strongest possible squad in their final pre-World Cup tuneup, which is going to force the USMNT to either step up to the challenge or risk being annihilated. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now Arsenal would be selling their soul with Mourinho move “We know that we’re not preparing for a tournament, but at the same time these are invaluable experiences for a group of players that is just starting to come together,” U.S. midfielder Wil Trapp said. “It’s their last game before the World Cup so we know that the energy, the excitement from them, the quality, should be high and we’re prepared for it, we’re excited for it.”It’ll be difficult, but these are the games you want to play in.”The lackluster showing against Ireland shouldn’t necessarily be used to measure how the Americans will respond against the French. Since this run of friendlies was announced, the France match has been seen as the showcase, the one most players were circling on the calendar. It isn’t a stretch to think some U.S. players overlooked Ireland, but there are no surprises on Saturday. They will be taking on the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, which is the type of challenge that should bring the best out of a brash crop of young American talents.”One thing I’ll tell you about this group is they don’t get intimidated,” U.S. caretaker coach Dave Sarachan said. “When we played Portugal in November with a similar younger team, FIFA had them third in the world, and they played without fear. This group is going to do the same.”Once we step on the field this group will compete.”The USMNT will once again be without its best player — Christian Pulisic — who went on vacation and skipped the team’s European-based friendlies. His absence, coupled with the injury to Kenny Saief and the inability to secure releases of some MLS-based midfielders, has left this U.S. team facing a playmaker drought. Sarachan turned to Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams as a central tandem in front of Trapp, a partnership that yielded very little in the way of chances created.The good news is that central midfield trio will have to be much more focused on defending and trying to slow down France’s vaunted attack, which plays to the strengths of McKennie and Adams, though the U.S. as a group still needs to do a better job of keeping the ball and moving it around.”I think we were a little bit afraid to play when there was some pressure on us,” U.S. defender Tim Parker said. “I think we just have to work on getting in good spots for one another when we have the ball. This way it makes it easier for the next guy.”From an individual standpoint, Saturday’s friendly should tell us quite a bit about several youngsters. Tim Weah plays for Paris Saint-German and has expressed his excitement about facing the French. The 18-year-old winger has impressed in the team’s recent friendlies, but finding success against France’s defense will be an entirely different kind of challenge.GFX USMNT Projected XI vs FranceMcKennie will have his opportunity to face off against Champions League caliber competition as he prepares to fight for a regular role in Schalke’s looming Champions League campaign, while Adams is expected to make a move to a top European league in the near future, and going up against the likes of Griezmann and Kante should only help raise his profile.Defensively, the center back tandem of Matt Miazga and Cameron Carter-VIckers had some shaky moments against Ireland, but will find a significantly more difficult challenge on Saturday. That’s assuming Sarachan doesn’t break up the pairing to give a start to Parker, who was impressive off the bench against Ireland.Whichever defense Sarachan settles on will need to play much better than the unit that faced Ireland. As much as the Americans are a long shot to knock off Les Bleus, the only chance they have of avoiding being overrun is if the team’s defensive shape and commitment is excellent.”We just want to make the game tough for them,” Parker said. “I think we want to put on a good showing for ourselves, but obviously not make it easy for them.”last_img read more