Why Celtics' season may have taken a physical toll on some fans

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Why Celtics' season may have taken a physical toll on some fans originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics' 2020-21 regular season was a roller coaster, and fans along for the ride may have literally felt its effects.

Dr. Kate Chard is the director of the University of Cincinnati's Health Stress Center, where she studies the physical toll that stress and anxiety can have on the body.

"Stress can cause us to become sick," Chard says. "You're more likely to catch a cold. You're more likely to catch any viruses that are going around. But you're also more likely to have heart problems, diabetes and things like that."

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We don't tend to associate watching sports with stress or anxiety, but if you're fretting over the Celtics blowing a second-half lead -- or even biting your nails during a close game that the C's end up winning -- that falls in the same category, says Chard.

"Even the exciting stress of a sporting event: It's still stress. ... It's a good idea for all of us to keep an eye on our stress -- even related to sports."

So, how can Boston fans manage the stress associated with watching their teams? Chard shares three useful tactics -- one of which is keeping things in proper perspective.

"This is entertainment. This is here to make you happy, not to stress you out," Chard says. "If we can remember it's one game, it's one season ... we're going to be back again."

Keeping that perspective is sometimes easier said than done. But the "Wait 'till next year" approach has certainly paid off in Boston, where the city's professional sports teams are (mostly) annual contenders and all have won championships within the past 15 years.

Check out the video above for more on how stress can impact sports fans and what you can do to mitigate that stress.