Healthy Who Dats: Four Reasons Why Being a Sports Fan is Good for Seniors

At Kingsley Adult Day Care, we know that participating in sports and recreational activities is good for the body and mind. Engaging in only a few minutes of exercise each day can lower blood pressure and resting heart rate, decrease risk for heart disease and diabetes, and boost mental health outcomes. For many seniors and medically-fragile adults, however, there will come a time when actually participating in sports is no longer feasible or safe. While losing one’s physical connection with a particular sport can be challenging, aging individuals with disabilities or chronic illness still take the field as fans.

Daniel L. Wann, a professor at Murray State University in Kentucky, has studied the psychology of sports fans for decades, and the stereotype of the couch potato, beer-swilling sports fan couldn’t be further from the truth. As our sports fans at Kingsley Adult Day Care can tell you, being part of the #WhoDatNation feels GREAT! Here are four reasons why being a sports fan is good for seniors:

1) Sports fans are socially and physically active.

Numerous studies have shown that sports fans are engaged in the world around them. They tend to be more politically active in their communities and have good social support networks. Given their love for physical activity, it’s no surprise that sports fans tend to be more active themselves. Black and Gold Fridays are a staple at Kingsley Adult Day Care where our participants are encouraged to get motivated and get moving!

2) Sports fans have better emotional health.

Identifying with a local team is associated with higher self-esteem and increased socialization. Attending and watching sporting events are traditionally very lively group activities. Sports fans have ample opportunities to connect with others who share their love for the game or team. New Orleans is a prime example of the power of sports to elevate the emotional health of an entire city; it’s possible that crime declines by half on Saints game days. In contrast to typical New Orleans crime statistics, there were only two reported instances of violence and zero instances of civil unrest immediately following the Saints’ Super Bowl win. Feeling good about our teams can help us feel connected and positive about one another.

3) Just watching a game improves some cognitive skills.

Research indicates that simply watching a game can improve language skills when discussing that sport. When a fan’s mind is engaged in a game, it’s almost as if the mind is playing along with the game. At Kingsley Adult Day Care, we find that many of our memory care participants who struggle in other areas come alive when engaged in discussion about the Saints or the Pelicans. It’s remarkable! Recognizing our participants’ love for sports, we offer a variety of sports-themed activities and events for our participants every week and often get visits from our local teams and coaches!

4) Being a sports fan is an intergenerational activity.

Here in New Orleans, our seniors need their sports. Did you know that sports need our seniors, too? Sports organizations are recognizing the value of their senior fans. The average age of sports fans who consume their content on television is rising dramatically. Major League Baseball has acknowledged that it’s up to the older fans to save their sport by tuning in and helping to bring in a younger audience. Sports fans are often built out of family legacies, especially here in the South. We have generations of Saints fans under one roof at Kingsley, from our kids in Early Learning Services to our Parents as Educators all the way to our Kingsley Adult Day Care participants! Being a sports fan transcends age. From toddlers to seniors, super fans to casuals, we can all enjoy sports.

If you know a senior or medically-fragile adult sports fan that could benefit from the social and medical services at Kingsley Adult Day Care, don’t drop the ball. Come take a tour of Kingsley Adult Day Care and meet our Healthy Who Dats! Give us a call at 504-523-6224 or email us at info@kingsleycares.org today.