Fans who identify with a local team have higher self-esteem, are less lonely and are no more aggressive as a group than nonsports fans, according to Wann…

What she found was the region of the brain usually associated with planning and controlling actions is activated when fans and players listen to conversations about their sport. Watching could be a lot closer to actually doing than previously thought, she said.

“What I think our research suggests is a strong connection between the mind and the body,” Beilock said. “When we are sitting on the couch watching a football game or a hockey game, our brain is actually playing the game itself in a way.”

Researchers at the University of Utah found that men’s testosterone levels increased when they saw their team win — whether they were watching the game in person or on television. Higher testosterone levels have been linked to improved sexual function and increased energy.