Watching hockey can put as much stress on your heart as actually playing it, study finds

A new study found the heart-pounding action could be bad for your health.
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If watching the Minnesota Wild makes your heart pound ... well, that's pretty normal. 

It turns out watching hockey can put as much stress on your heart as actually playing a sport or exercising. 

That's according to a small study published Thursday by the Canadian Journal of Cardiology. Researchers checked the heart rate of 20 healthy people during a Montreal Canadiens game. 

They found people's heart rates went up by 75 percent, on average, when they watched the game on TV. 

That jump is similar to the heart rate spike people see when they're doing a moderate amount of exercise. 

And when watching a game in person their heart rates went up by 110 percent. That's similar to the cardiac stress that comes with "vigorous" exercise, the study said.

What moments made people's hearts pound?

The study found the plays in a game that made people's hearts race came with any scoring opportunity, or if the game went into overtime. Here's a breakdown:

This could be important for public health

Professor Paul Khairy at the University of Montreal, who was a senior researcher on the study, said in a news release that their findings "have important public health implications." 

That's because the heart-pounding stress of watching a hockey game could "trigger adverse cardiovascular events," Khairy said. 

Other studies about watching sports (none were specifically about watching hockey like this one was) found cardiovascular events while watching a game were more common in people who had heart disease, the release said. 

Doctors who reviewed the study said heart doctors should use this research to talk to their patients about watching sports. Especially for those going to a hockey game, which could increase the risk of someone with heart disease having a cardiovascular event even more. 

You can read more about this study here.

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