Work it – Does watching sports motivate you to “step up” your own exercise routines? Well, at least it’s good for your brain!


Work It

Good morning, everyone! Yet another muggy day here in Cleveland, Ohio. My hair leaves much to be desired  — imagine a frizzy, limp rats nest. How’s that for specific?

Anyway, it better get nice quick (or I’ve just gotta let it go) because tonight I’m headed to an Indians Game with the Mister and our friends Josh and Leann. Remember when Josh graduated from Law School? This was our gift to him.

Well with all the sports and sporting events I’ve been taking in lately, I’m feelin’ pretty motivated!

But there’s more to it than motivation. A recent study, “Sports Experience Changes the Neural Processing of Action Language”, explored the link between our learned motor skills and our language comprehension about those motor skills.

The interesting finding here is that those with experience, either playing or watching, are actually calling on additional neural networks in their brains to help their normal language comprehension abilities. In other words, the memories of learned actions are linked and assist other cognitive tasks. That sounds pretty much like the definition of embodied cognition and Dr. Beilock’s research has helped that theory take another step forward. In her words, “Experience playing and watching sports has enduring effects on language understanding by changing the neural networks that support comprehension to incorporate areas active in performing sports skills.”

So as you are watching the NBA finals, take pride in your own brain when you hear, “Kobe dribbles the ball to the top of the key, crosses over, drives the lane, and takes it to the basket for two trips over his shoe laces and falls flat on his face.” If you can imagine that play, your left dorsal premotor cortex just kicked into gear!

For the full study, check out the article, Watching Sports Is Good For Your Brain.

What does watching sports do for you? Amp you up for your own fitness routines? Motivate you to play it yourself?

8 Responses to “Work it – Does watching sports motivate you to “step up” your own exercise routines? Well, at least it’s good for your brain!”

  1. Interesting. I never really played sports so I can’t say that watching baseball or football makes me want to run out onto the field. However, if I watch a ballet, I soooo want to be back on a stage or in a studio.

  2. I love watching sports when I am on the treadmill. Especially with the world cup now, I am so amped up when I watch those guys run around like crazy. But I can’t imagine that golf would make me want to run faster :)

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog!! I used to be a dancer so I love watching So You Think You Can Dance. When I watch it my muscles literally itch as if saying “Stretch me! Stretch me!”

    Other than that, the only time I watch “real sports” if you will are when I’m at the sporting event. Something tells me people would not be impressed if I just dropped down and started doing pushups during a Twins game…haha.

    Happy Hump Day!!

  4. Now the next study should examine the effects of the proverbial alcohol while watching sports on that brain function ;)

  5. Kaz says:

    I knew I was getting smarter for a reason! :D

    Actually, it sort of does make me want to play sports. I learned so much about football that I was tempted to try to join my school’s football team…yeah, right. They’s squash me like a bug!

  6. It sure does! Especially when I watch triathlons etc – makes me want to go out and train!!!

  7. Watching sports totally inspires me to step up my game! Sometimes when I am feeling sluggish on a run I will imagine that I am running in some big time race next to Kara Goucher! haha!

  8. Shawnee says:

    Watching sports, especially baseball, makes me want to eat stadium food. :)

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