By Cara Bahniuk
We know the feeling of sadness in our hearts that comes along with being a hockey fan around the month of May, but it turns out watching hockey could be bad for your heart in other ways.
A study by the Montreal Heart Institute found that fans watching hockey games, both on TV and live, saw a drastic increase in their heart rate. The study was completed during the regular season. Maybe next time they should hook some Caps fans up to heart rate monitors during the playoffs….or maybe not.
The study began with arming 20 healthy Montreal Canadiens fans, aged 23 to 63, with heart monitors. Half of the participants were asked to watch the regular season games at home while the other half attended live games at the Bell Centre. The results found that both groups experiences and increase in their heart rate, with those watching on TV seeing a 75% increase and those at the arena saw an increase of 110%. The 110% increase was an average of 10-beats per minute higher than average.
“If you look at how physical stress response is classified…watching a game on television is associated with a heart rate response similar to a moderate physical stress, whereas live was associated with a response equivalent to a vigorous physical stress,” said senior investigator Professor Paul Khairy, MD, PhD, Montreal Heart Institute at the University of Montreal.
This isn’t the first time a study has been completed comparing cardiac incidents with sporting events, but it is the first to focus on hockey alone.
“Our results indicate that viewing a hockey game can likewise be the source of an intense emotional stress, as manifested by marked increases in heart rate,” Khairy said. “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. Therefore, the results have important public health implications.”
Researchers broke down the most heart-pounding moments of the game which, unsurprisingly, included overtime as the top ranked. The analysis determines it is not the outcome of the game that effects viewers the most, but the excitement that surrounds certain aspects.
Credit: Canadian Journal of Cardiology
Before the analysis began, fans were ranked on their “passion score” to determine how invested the participant was in the team. Unlike in a previous study completed amongst soccer fans, the “passion score” failed to predict heart rate responses, meaning all participants had similar heart responses to the game.
“I think the overall message here is I don’t think we should be discouraging people from enjoying life and watching (their team), said Khairy. “But having said that, when we know what the risks are, then we’re better equipped to minimize those risks.”
Pretty remarkable that a television show in Toronto called “Your Morning” knew exactly what gif they should use while promoting the story. You’re on our list “Your Morning”.
.@ICMtl: hockey may be too stressful to watch. Experts: those who watched on TV, saw avg. heart rate up 75%. LIVE: avg. spike of 110%. pic.twitter.com/az1hTSpSUY
— Your Morning (@YourMorning) October 5, 2017
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