Whether you’re still basking in the glory of a British win at Wimbledon, rubbing your sores over Euro 2016 or gloating over Chris Froome’s domination at the Tour de France, this summer we’re immersed in sport – and the big one in Rio starting this week! Let’s face it, we all love to talk a good game but why do we love watching it so much?
One of the reasons, according to ASAPScience is that we actually experience a reaction in our hormone levels. After watching our team win, levels of testosterone skyrocket – so we keep on watching in order to recreate that state of physiological excitement. Additionally The International Mental Game Coaching Association says that because we identify with team players we can live vicariously through them, whilst at the same time learning about good qualities like loyalty and perseverance.
So there’s no harm in watching sport – but what if it is at the cost of playing it? The benefits of sport and exercise are well documented; physical health, reducing risk of major illness, well-being, weight loss etc. What if watching too much sport encourages us to be a little bit lazy? A recent survey by technology company Fitbit revealed that half of us believe we burn enough calories by hoovering, dusting and ironing for two hours and so don’t need to participate in organised exercise! Are we turning into a sedentary nation of armchair athletes – and is technology partially to blame?
For the first time in history it will be possible for viewers to enter the Olympic stadium at Rio without getting off the couch. This is thanks to a new partnership between Rio 2016 and Google, as Rio 2016 writes; “Fans will be able to ‘enter’ the venues via Google Street View and get a 360-degree view of the stadiums, arenas and pools where the likes of Usain Bolt, LeBron James and Michael Phelps will do their stuff.” The latest portable technology has made this possible – a rather fancy backpack called the ‘Trekker’, fitted with 15 cameras.
So will you be glued to your couch during the Rio Olympics or will you be inspired to tear yourself away to do some real exercise? Are you a watcher or a player?