Watching the World Cup on Sunday could have given your own body a workout, too. New research suggests that watching sports can make you fitter by increasing your body’s reaction to what your mind sees.
When participants in the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Autonomic Neuroscience, watched a video of somebody else running, blood flow, respiration, heart rate, and sweat-release all increased for the viewer.
Perhaps the most important study finding: Watching physical activity being performed stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, the same system that’s activated when you’re actually exercising.
Does this mean that you can watch sports all day and become just as fit as Germany’s Thomas Mueller? Heck no. But if you’re going to sit in front of the TV, there might be a benefit to watching sports over the newest Netflix series. If you can’t do it, watch it.