Brain sport

Welcome to my Lab. On our quest to forge the shield we will take a small detour this week. If you are based in Europe and not living under a rock, you probably would have heard that the Munich soccer team FB Bayern Munich not only won the champions league finals 2020, but won the treble. A continental treble involves winning the club’s national league competition, main national cup competition, and main continental trophy, and this for the second time.

Since 2020 is obviously different, there were no spectators allowed in the stadium, but millions watched the game on TV. You might have been watching?  But no matter, let’s have a quick look at the effects of watching a 90 minute final on your hormones.

Even before the game, the emotions begin to rise. A decent amount of inner tension is necessary to start the release of the first hormones. Beginning with adrenaline, probably the best-known neurotransmitter. Once this is released into the blood, fear is reduced and the body’s own energy mobilised. A shot of dopamine keeps the joyful tension going. As a reaction to this, the heart rate and blood pressure increase and so does your confidence. With the kick-off, adrenalin takes over again. In addition serotonin comes into play. Every time our supported team moves toward scoring, a little bit of serotonin not just keeps us bound to the game, but  it also keeps us happy. In the event of an actual goal, endorphins, the “endogenous opiate”, which conveys euphoric feelings of floating happiness, kick in. Immediately after the sought-after victory, the testosterone level increases. Strength, stamina and sexual arousal are now at an all-time high.

No wonder, many hardcore fans are reported to have been flooding certain streets Sunday night, gathering to celebrate. Obviously this is quite a menu for the brain, and it is no wonder, that watching sports can become addictive. Historically this is an ancient tactic that can distract the masses from a certain amount of hardship and sorrow. Panem et circenses in modern times.

Congratulations anyway. The journey continues.

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