Is televised football ruining your health?

Football is everywhere and with the advancement of technology it is constantly available to its avid fans. However, excessive consumption of televised football not only encourages bad health habits but can also affect the emotional side of your life such as relationships with loved ones.

Attending a game is slightly better for your health as you are getting fresh air and will be slightly active. However, not everyone can afford to attend every single game of the club they support. A survey from BBC Sport has revealed that 82% of 18- to 24-year-old fans living in Britain said the cost of tickets was an obstacle to them going to more matches. With 55% of the fans polled also said they had stopped attending completely or go to fewer games as it is too expensive. This means more people will be sitting idly in a pub or at home watching the games, and not being active in the slightest.

Couch potato culture
Did you know that British men will watch a shocking 20,472 hours of sport at home in their lifetime? All from the comfort of their sofa, the average man will spend over two years over his life watching his favourite clubs and athletes. The survey carried out by Walkers highlighted that the most popular sport followed was football, with 48% of men claiming it is their favourite game to watch on television. A constant stream of televised football is encouraging inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle. Be it if you are perched on a pub stool or laying on your sofa, you can be damaging your health. There are many health risks to leading an inactive life such as chronic back pain, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, breast cancer and colon cancer. So, ditch the football and head to the gym instead! If you are worried about the cost of the gym, we here at Incorpore have two fantastic schemes that offer discounted gym memberships: My Gym Discounts, a self-paid gym membership scheme, and GymFlex, a salary sacrifice scheme with the company paying for the annual gym membership and adjusting salaries accordingly.

No Christmas joy
It appeared to be all work and no play over the Christmas period again this year for the football industry. There were 44 Premier League football games from Saturday 16th December 2017 to Monday 1st January 2018 including eight fixtures on Boxing Day. This also doesn’t even include the championship league, league one, league two, Welsh premier league, Scottish premiership, national league, highland league, lowland league or Irish premiership games that took place… The fixture congestion seems never-ending, and the only break from it over Christmas was the 24th and 25th December. I witnessed first-hand the impact too much football has had on the Christmas festivities and on Saturday 23rd December watching the Arsenal vs. Liverpool football match in a pub I was shocked at the extent. It was around 8pm and it was packed, there were lots of Christmas parties, people celebrating Christmas and your regular pub-goers. The football began and the atmosphere in the pub became football focused with fans eagerly waiting to see if their team was going to win. You had people coming in and leaving without having a drink because the footie was on and they wanted to celebrate Christmas. Only a small amount of people actually stayed in the pub and understandably it was a laddish boisterous culture with people glued to the television. The moment the game ended the television was turned off, the Christmas music came back on and the atmosphere changed instantly. It was as if Christmas had finally arrived. It truly does put a damper on the festivities as it is supposed to be a time to see your loved ones and not be watching hundreds of football games.

Promoting good behaviour
We constantly see the lavish lifestyles of footballers and even their partners in the media, however, considering they have a global audience we don’t see much encouragement towards their fans being healthier. If football players and clubs placed a stronger emphasis on doing physical activity rather than the games they play and people watching them, fans may be inspired to opt for healthier lifestyles.

Causes antisocial behaviour
Quite a few people take football and the club they support very seriously to the point where it can affect their mood. Some may feel depressed if their team loses or if their favourite player is injured, which will put them in a bad mood and leave them sulking. The sheer volume of televised football can disrupt your every day life and lead to family outings, date nights or seeing friends being cancelled. Social interactions decrease when people give their attention to watching football on the television, which causes antisocial behaviour. You can easily get swept into the football madness but you should be careful to not lose track of everything and everyone around you. Don’t shut yourself of from the world or neglect your loved ones.

Unhealthy eating and drinking
Football has always been a cause for unhealthy eating and drinking habits, but with the sheer amount of football games now those bad treats can end up being consumed seven days a week. Typical football food often consists of burgers, pies, chips and pizza, and all of which are high in salt, fat, sugar, calories, preservatives and artificial ingredients. Eating those types of foods once a week wouldn’t do any harm, however, if it is a seven-day occurrence you will soon start to see health problems occur such as diabetes or cholesterol problems. Watching televised football can lead to people making unhealthy choices, have you ever seen someone down a glass of water and eat an apple whilst watching the footie? The answer is no, fast food and beer are the staples of the football diet. Even if you say you will just have one cheeky beer down the pub or just drink one at home, one leads to two, and two leads to three, and so on. If you plan on following football games every day then try to drink lots of water and eat healthier foods such as vegetables with hummus or fruit.

Too much football
You will be hard pressed nowadays to not find football on the television, it is on all the time and consequentially interest in the sport is being damaged. There has begun to be a lack of appreciation for it and constant exposure is having a negative effect on the game. The exposure football receives has changed and the wide availability of it, this means that anyone with a television package, mobile phone or internet connection can access it. With so many clubs playing at the same time you have to pick and choose the team you want to watch, although now with social media people have the results to the games at the tip of their fingers. It is a massive commitment watching all of the games now televised and it can begin to feel like a chore… Where is the enjoyment or fun in watching ten football games a day?