soccerHere in the U.S., we’re all very excited about the U.S. women’s soccer team winning the World Cup.

Whether soccer is your thing, or you’re more a fan of baseball, football, hockey, cricket or another sport, I thought you might find it useful to know about something interesting that happens to you when you watch your favorite team play: It triggers a surge in testosterone!

That’s the word from researchers who studied male and female Spanish soccer fans cheering on their home team in the 2010 World Cup final between Spain and The Netherlands and discovered that testosterone and cortisol (a stress hormone) both climbed during the match.

Why the hormonal spike? Researchers believe it’s because we identify with our favorite teams so much that we feel like we’re personally getting ready to help them win. So, our body responds by churning out hormones that amp up our energy and competitiveness.

Do you play on a sports team or compete solo? More interesting hormonal news: Studies (like this one, this one and this one) show that, both men and women experience a surge in testosterone that begins at least 24 hours before a match and continues throughout the game.

As the researchers explain it, this higher output of testosterone is your body’s way of getting you better prepared to beat your opponent by promoting team bonding and ratcheting up aggressiveness and focus.

How can you use this information in everyday life? A higher output of testosterone gives you more confidence and a higher sex drive. So, when you need a boost in either one of these–say, before giving a big presentation or going on a hot date–turn on a game that one of your favorite teams is playing in or challenge someone to an athletic competition (like a sprint, bowling or even badminton) to get your testosterone pumping.

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