Watching A Hockey Game Can Stress Your Heart Out


Sporting events are quite exciting, and hockey is one that does not lack in excitement. However, restraint must evidently be exercised, as new research reveals that watching hockey puts significant stress on the heart, whether you watch it live or on television.

Hockey Game Stress

In a recent study, researchers focused specifically on hockey and how watching the sport affects heart rate. Prior to the data gathering, participants answered a short questionnaire that outlined both their general health, as well as their fan passion score or how invested they are in the team.

Although fan passion score was unable to predict heart rate responses, researchers found that spectators of the sport via television had an average of 75 percent increase in their heart rates, while live spectators experienced a whopping 110 percent bump in their heart rates. These numbers are equivalent to the heart's response to moderate and vigorous exercise, respectively.

Generally, heart rates almost doubled for all spectators of the sport, and researchers found that the heart rate increases peaked during scoring opportunities, whether for or against the team they support and during overtime.

"The study raises the potential that the emotional stress-induced response of viewing a hockey game can trigger adverse cardiovascular events on a population level," said Professor Paul Khairy, MD, PhD of the University of Montreal, senior researcher of the study.

Sports-Related Cardiovascular Events

Regardless of your sport of choice, there's no denying that sporting events are quite exciting to watch. They're so exciting to watch, in fact, that watching sports has previously been linked to cardiac incidents.

The current consensus is that increases in heart rate and blood pressure may lead to increased risks of myocardial infarction or cardiovascular death, and as seen in the current study, sporting events lead to significantly heightened heart rates.

A firm example of this would be during the 2006 World Cup, where there were 4,279 acute coronary events responded to by emergency personnel in the Greater Munich area. Unsurprisingly, such incidences were higher during matches involving the German team.

For At-Risk Sports Fans

The results show that excitement from watching hockey and other sporting events, especially when done live and during peak moments of the game, could trigger cardiovascular events among at-risk spectators. Though they are not by all means being advised to stop watching hockey games, being aware of the possibilities could save them from negative cardiovascular events.

Apart from taking ample precautions, it would be wise to monitor the body for symptoms after such heart rate-raising events so that any sign or symptoms may immediately be checked by a health professional.

The study is published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

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