See, ma? All those years you thought I was turning my mind to mush in front of TV, when this study shows watching sports actually engages your mind in beneficial ways. Turns out it was the drugs that made me an idiot. Wish I’d seen that coming.
Being an athlete or merely a fan improves language skills when it comes to discussing their sport because parts of the brain usually involved in playing sports are instead used to understand sport language, new research at the University of Chicago shows.
Brain imaging revealed that when hockey players and fans listen to language about hockey, they show activity in the brain regions usually used to plan and select well-learned physical actions. The increased activity in motor areas of the brain helps hockey players and fans to better understanding hockey language. The results show that playing sports, or even just watching, builds a stronger understanding of language, Beilock said.
And they only tested this on hockey fans. Imagine the benefit for people who watch interesting sports!