18 Jul 2018

It’s a claim that might sound far-fetched to many England fans, but a senior doctor has claimed that watching football can be good for mental wellbeing. The NHS Director has said that for older people in particular there are clear benefits from watching classic football matches like England’s 1966 world cup final victory, including keeping the brain active and stimulating memories. The physical benefits of playing football and other sports are well-known, but the NHS’ leading dementia expert is encouraging older people, particularly anyone with dementia, to watch replays of sporting events as a way of improving mental health and wellbeing.

NHS England’s Director for Dementia says that the power of sport can stimulate emotion which can be revived many years after the event. Emotional memory, which is one of two main types of memory in the human brain, can be more powerful than memory for personal events, so as people in later life relive exciting or tense moments, this can stimulate memories, potentially strengthening brain activity.

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