Cycling fans top the charts for the healthiest sports fan base in the UK, a study has found.
The survey, conducted by leisure centre operator Better, measured the physical health of 2,000 sports fans, comparing their exercise levels, viewing habits and nutrition to give them a score out of 49. The findings revealed that, of the seven most popular sports in the country, cycling enthusiasts boasted the highest results, ranking in first place alongside tennis fans with an average score of 38.
A key factor for cycling fans’ strong performance in the rankings was their willingness to practise sport themselves, with 75% of those surveyed saying they ride their bikes regularly.
Also contributing to the group’s high health score was their reduced drinking tendencies. According to the survey results, cycling fans are among the least likely to watch sport from the pub, with 37% opting to visit their local drinking hole for live events, compared to 45% of rugby fans.
It is unclear whether this is due to personal choice or a lack of opportunities to watch cycling outside of one’s home.
As it turns out, cycling fans could well be lucrative customers for pubs to welcome. Better’s study revealed that over half of cycling followers surveyed drink when watching sport, making them one of the largest fan bases for alcohol consumption.
The difference, however, lies in the amount they drink. Only 9% of cycling fans said they consumed more than 10 units a week, compared to 12% for followers of cricket and rugby.
Commenting on the survey’s overall findings, Better’s health intervention manager Phil Hannen said: “While our research explores how sports fans vary in their enthusiasm to emulate the sports stars they watch every week, the one thing clearly highlighted is how beneficial the presence of sports is in so many people’s lives.”
Hannen went on to highlight sport’s ability to improve mental health, build tight-knit communities and inspire people to get active.
Whether you enjoy a Belgian beer in Spring or a glass of red with the Tour de France highlights, you can take comfort in the fact you’re probably in better nick than your friends who follow rugby.