Sports fever: Study says watching hockey stressful for the heart


OTTAWA Oct 7 (TNS):  Watching a hockey game live or on television may lead to a rise in heart rate, that can have a substantial effect on the cardiovascular system, a research has claimed.

The findings, published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, showed that there was a 75 % increase in heart rate in TV viewers and 110 % rise in heart rate from watching a game live. These are equivalent to the heart rate response that occurs with moderate and vigorous physical stress, respectively.

Overall, the heart rate increased by a median of 92 % (almost doubled) across all spectators. “Watching an exciting hockey game might trigger a cardiovascular event in an individual at risk,” said David D. Waters, from Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, in the US.

“Viewing a hockey game can be the source of an intense emotional stress, as manifested by marked increases in heart rate,” added Paul Khairy, Professor at the University of Montreal in Canada.

Further, the researchers found that pounding peak heart rates occurred most frequently during any scoring opportunity – for or against – and during overtime and not necessarily at the end of the game.

Previous studies have shown that cardiovascular events triggered by watching sporting events are more common in people with existing coronary artery disease, attributed to a disproportionate increase in markers of vasoconstriction and acute inflammation in those individuals.

The results should encourage doctors to speak to their patients about watching sports, the researchers noted.