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Chilean referee Roberto Tobar checks the VAR to show the red card to Paraguay's Fabian Balbuena after a foul on Brazil's Roberto Firmino on the border of the area during their Copa America football tournament quarter-final match at the Gremio Arena in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on June 27, 2019. (Photo by Juan MABROMATA / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Paolo ROSSI. Italy, born 23rd September 1956. In 1982 the World Cup was hosted by Spain. The final was played on 11th July in the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid. Attendance: 90,000. Result Italy 3 -- 1 West Germany. Rossi scores Italy's first goal in the 57th minute. Photographed on his vineyard in Tuscany, 31/08/09.




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Paolo ROSSI. Italy, born 23rd September 1956. In 1982 the World Cup was hosted by Spain. The final was played on 11th July in the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid. Attendance: 90,000. Result Italy 3 -- 1 West Germany. Rossi scores Italy's first goal in the 57th minute. Photographed on his vineyard in Tuscany, 31/08/09. EXCLUSIVE TEXT ACCOMPANIES / AVAILABLE FOR THIS PORTRAIT. © Michael Donald / eyevine Contact eyevine for more information about using this image: T: +44 (0) 20 8709 8709 E: info@eyevine.com http:///www.eyevine.com
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Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan (in yellow) talks to Istanbul Basaksehir's staff members during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Istanbul Basaksehir FK at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on December 8, 2020. - Paris Saint-Germain's decisive Champions League game with Istanbul Basaksehir was suspended today in the first half as the players walked off amid allegations of racism by one of the match officials. The row erupted after Basaksehir assistant coach Pierre Webo, the former Cameroon international, was shown a red card during a fierce row on the touchline with staff from the Turkish club appearing to accuse the Romanian fourth official of using a racist term. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
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(CNN) —  

With every painstaking second that ticks by you get that bit closer to the edge of your seat. This could be it, this could be the week your beloved soccer team wins that all-important three points.

Your nerves are jangling, palms are sweating and nothing in the world can distract you from watching the action as the referee starts lifting the whistle to his lips.

All of a sudden, the whistle sounds, and the game is over. You leap into the air celebrating the win like some feral animal, confused by those who don’t get this invested into 22 people kicking a ball around a field.

Watching soccer is special, there’s simply nothing quite like it. But now, thanks to new research led by the University of Leeds, it gets even better.

The recent study, due to be released soon, suggests watching your beloved soccer team romp home to victory has a positive impact on your health, with spectators experiencing physical stresses equivalent to going for a brisk 90-minute walk.

Results also found that a win lifts a spectators mood for a whole 24 hours after the game has finished.

“Ultimately supporting your team at a football match gives you a moderate cardiovascular workout and depending on the result of the match, a psychological boost or slump,” said Dr. Andrea Utley, the sports scientist who led the study in conjunction with BetVictor.

A new study reveals football could be good for your health.
PHOTO: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
A new study reveals football could be good for your health.

The experiment monitored 25 Leeds United fans, aged between 20 and 62, throughout three key games during the Championship last season.

’Good stress’

One game was watched in a controlled environment while the other two were watched live in the stadium during the team’s chaotic playoff finals, with promotion to the English Premier League at stake.

Researchers analyzed the participants’ heart rates before the game, at halftime and after the match had finished – noticing that on average heart rates increased by 17 percent.

“There is good stress and there is bad stress and there’s a level of arousal which is actually good for you and the level of arousal that takes you over the edge,” Utley told CNN Sport.

“Although people think watching football takes you over the edge, it doesn’t. We found it just kept people at a good level of arousal.”

Heart rates particularly peaked around goal scoring opportunities, with rates increasing 27 percent after a Leeds United goal and 22 percent after an opposition goal.

Ultimately, the more the game matters, the bigger the reactions are.

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Long term benefits

If this wasn’t good news enough, the research also indicates that watching soccer can have long term benefits.

Even though blood pressure increased during the game, findings revealed that, as a whole, fans had a lower blood pressure long after the match had finished.

“There is this belief that you are in agony watching the game,” added Utley.

“The reality is that it’s not actually true. I think we quite enjoy this, we enjoy being passionate.”

However, this was not the case after watching a loss, with blood pressure continuing to rise long after the final whistle.

Findings reveal that a defeat can have a "severe" impact on fans' mental health.
PHOTO: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
Findings reveal that a defeat can have a "severe" impact on fans' mental health.

’Severe slump’

The study also noticed how people’s mood is hugely affected by the outcome of the match.

Participants filled out a short mood survey before and after each game which revealed just how hard a loss can hit supporters.

When their team wins, fans experience “an absolute high” with the euphoria lasting a day. However, when their team loses, the slump can “actually be quite severe.”

One of the participants said losing a match felt like a “low hum”.

“That disappointment of Friday meant that the first thing I thought of when I woke up on Saturday morning was, ‘I don’t believe we lost that game,’” they said in a focus group after the game.

“That sort of sets the mood for the rest of that morning until you can pull yourself out of it.”

Another participant said the loss felt like “a friend has died.”