Study: During a game your heart could be under same stress as players

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Do you get stressed out watching the Vikings, Packers, or the Twins? New research suggests watching the game can stress out your heart just as much as playing it yourself.

At least that's the case for parents of bison football players we talked to. Junior running back, Bruce Anderson’s mom says, "Excited, nervous, and at the same time upset, you got to have a little edge going into the game."

While Bruce is one of the star players, his mom Lesley might be the real MVP. "I think you have a massive coronary yourself while you're watching the game. Especially how my son plays, I am telling you, sometimes I am so excited, and I am stressed."

During Saturday’s game against Indiana State, new research suggests Lesley will be under the same cardiac stress as Bruce. "Jumping up and down, screaming and yelling, every game I leave, I am horse after every game." Says Lesley.

Sanford Cardiologist, Dr. Puneet Sharma says, "When you are watching sports or any intense activity your heart rate just shoots up and comes down, and that can increase your blood pressure suddenly.” He says the more you care about the game, the more intense the effect. Your pulse can jump by over 100%. "Every time your heart rate goes up doesn't necessarily mean that it can cause a heart attack, but it can definitely induce a heart attack."

The average healthy person doesn't need to worry about it causing any heart issues. That’s good news for Lesley, "I mean it's America's favorite pastime.”

However, don't get the wrong idea. Just because you are under the same kind of stress on game day, doesn't mean you are getting the same kind of exercise. It does not work that way.

The cardiologist we spoke to says it's important if you're attending a game to know where the AED is, and how to use it. If you have a heart condition, the game could cause issues.