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Opinion

AFCON 2023 final: How to reduce heart attack watching tense football match

As Nigeria take on host Cote d’Ivoire in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final, it’s important to know your health status before the game.

A game of football can be emotional, especially a final where the coveted AFCON trophy is at stake. Nigeria last won the title in 2013 and would have another chance to win their fourth title.

Following the Super Eagles victory against Bafana Bafana of South Africa in the semifinal, it is important to ensure you take your health seriously ahead of the final on Sunday.

Here are tips on how to reduce risk while watching a tense football game

Engage in stress reduction activities
Managing stress is crucial for heart health. Practice stress-reduction techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to mitigate its effects. If the intensity of the game becomes overwhelming, take breaks to regain composure and calm yourself.

Don’t watch alone
Sharing the game experience with friends or family members can provide emotional support and contribute to a more enjoyable and relaxed atmosphere overall.

Stay Hydrated
It’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, especially if you’re indulging in snacks or alcoholic beverages. Proper hydration is essential for maintaining good cardiovascular health.

Recognise warning signs
Recognise the symptoms of a heart attack, including chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and lightheadedness. If you notice any of these signs, seek emergency medical attention without delay.

Avoid attaching too many emotions
It’s just a game of football, where the winner takes all. Stay informed about your favourite teams and players, but be mindful to avoid excessive emotional investment in the game. Emotional stress can impact heart health, so it’s important to maintain a balanced approach.

Have an emergency plan
Make sure you and those in your vicinity are aware of the location of the nearest hospital and how to access emergency medical services if the need arises.

Take breaks during the game
Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining cardiovascular health, as a sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for heart disease. Consider taking short breaks during the game to stretch or walk around, promoting movement and reducing the negative effects of prolonged sitting.

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