Watching Sports on TV Increases Heart Rate

December 12, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. fitness [FIT-nis] (n.) – the state of being physically healthy
Example: Regular exercise increases physical fitness.

2. regulate [REG-yuh-leyt] (v.) – to adjust to a certain requirement
Example: The brain regulates body condition.

3. fine [fahyn] (adj.) – extremely thin
Example: The thread is as fine as the human hair.

4. stationary [STEY-shuh-ner-ee] (adj.) – stays at place or not moving
Example: Most office work is stationary.

5. couch potato [kouch puh-TEY-toh, -tuh] (idiom) – a type of person who spends most of the time sitting and watching television
Example: Jerry is a couch potato who sits and watches TV almost all day.


Read the text below.
Results of a new research showed that watching sports on the television may improve a person’s fitness just as exercising does.

Researchers from the University of Western Sydney conducted this study to know if watching sports affects a person’s sympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nervous system is a part of the nervous system that regulates body functions such as heart rate, breathing, and sweating.

The researchers inserted very fine needles to the participants’ nerves to measure the signals that the nerves send to the blood vessels. This way, the researchers were able to identify how one’s body reacts to physical or mental stress.

At first, the researchers showed the participants a stationary image on the computer screen. But soon after, the screen showed a video of a runner jogging. While the participants are watching the runner on the television, the researchers measured their sympathetic nerve activities.

According to the results, a person’s heart and breathing rates increase when he or she watches sports on the television. In addition, the heart and breathing rates return to normal once the person on the television stops exercising.

The results of this study are similar to that of a previous study about emotions and nerve activities. According to this study, seeing emotional images increases nerve activities and stimulates sweat release.

The result of the recent study is good news to couch potatoes, or people who are not interested in doing routine exercise. However, the researchers said that doing actual exercise and workout is always better as it gives people more health benefits.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that doing actual exercise is better than watching sports on TV? Why or why not?
·         After reading the article, would you watch sports on TV more often? Why is that so?

Discussion B

·         Is physical fitness important in one’s life? Why do you say so?
·         How can a person be more physically fit?


December 12, 2013