I simply love sports. Okay, maybe not all sports. But, I can pretty much get into any game, especially when people I know are into it, too. American football is by far my favorite sports, but I also love basketball. Baseball and hockey come way after that, as I’m not a big fan of either of those sports. But, regardless, why do people like sports so much? There are actually some core reasons.

For me, I really think it’s the comradery and community. I love the feeling of watching a game that I know thousands, maybe even millions, of people are watching at the same time. It’s truly live viewing in the streaming era. When you’re streaming a popular show, you’re watching it on your own time. It’s not a live event that you’re watching simultaneously with lots of other people. But, when you’re watching a live game, it’s totally live, and others are watching the same thing that you’re watching. I love that feeling. It brings a connection to a bigger world.

So, I believe that’s my main reason for loving sports. But, there are so many other reasons. People like sports because it gives them a self-esteem boost, especially if their team wins. For example, someone thinking, “I knew the Lions would turn it around all these years, so I must know my stuff!” Some people like sports because they bet money on it. There’s also the excitement factor. Some fans just love the thrills.

Another reason people like sports is for the same reason they like live concerts, theater or comedy. It’s an escape from the real world. There’s also the feeling of being connected to your favorite player, much like your favorite musician or actor. Being able to take in the successes of a favorite team or athlete can be a very powerful experience.

What’s extra cool is that watching sports can actually be good for you. WellandGood.com notes that a recent “study of over 7,200 people published in Frontiers in Public Health has found that watching live sports increases feelings of well-being.” They add, “Specifically, study subjects reported that attending live sporting events came with increased life satisfaction, a greater sense of life being worthwhile, and reduced loneliness.”

Hackensackmeridianhealth.org notes that watching sports can actually motivate you to get off the couch and play yourself. That hasn’t happened with me yet, but considering football is my favorite sports and I’m a girl, maybe that’s a good thing. “Watching athletes doing their best on the field, whether they win or lose, can motivate and encourage others to participate in sports,” says Hackensackmeridianhealth.org. Dr. Khanyutin tells Hackensackmeridianhealth.org that, “It’s not just the athleticism, either. It’s the leadership, perseverance, creativity and dedication that we admire and want to emulate.”

Khanyutin adds, “There are very important caveats to remember. Watching sports can quickly get stressful by adding in things like betting, alcohol, and letting the violence on the field spill over into our behaviors. If you find yourself falling into bad habits or feeling overwhelmed, remember there are bigger, more important things in life than sports.”

So, don’t feel guilting for all your sports-watching habits. Just roll with it, because it could actually be good for you.