Watching a film in the cinema counts as a ‘light workout’ according to new study

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  • If you’re a cinephile, we’ve got excellent news for you. Going to the cinema to watch a film counts as a ‘light workout’. What better way to hit your fitness targets?

    According to research carried out by University College London, being immersed in a film speeds up your heart rate.

    The study looked at 51 people, who wore sensors to track heart rates and skin reactions whilst they were watching the 2019 live action remake of Aladdin.

    Then, they were compared with 26 people who spent the same amount of time reading. They found out that people in the cinema spent around 45 minutes in a ‘healthy heart zone’.

    This means their heart was beating between 40 and 80 per cent of its maximum rate. Researchers said that this is the same effect that light cardiovascular exercise has on the body.

    Interestingly, the hearts of everyone watching the film appeared to synchronise and beat in unison, creating a feeling of ‘togetherness’. Cute!


    Credit: Getty Images

    Of course, a cinema visit would never be as beneficial as visiting the gym, because you need to keep moving to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Plus it’s worth highlighting the study was financed by Vue Cinema and had a very small number of participants, but it’s interesting to see the effects the silver screen has on our body.

    That’s not the only thing beneficial about going to the cinema either. The study also revealed that going can help brain function, social connections, productivity and creativity.

    Dr Joseph Devlin, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL, said, “‘Cultural experiences like going to the cinema provide opportunities for our brain to devote our undivided attention for sustained periods of time,”

    He added, “‘At the cinema specifically, there is nothing else to do except immerse yourself. On top of this, our ability to sustain focus and attention plays a critical role in building our mental resilience, because problem-solving typically requires a concentrated effort to overcome obstacles.

    “In other words, our ability to work through problems without distraction makes us better able to solve problems and makes us more productive. In a world where it is increasingly difficult to step away from our devices, this level of sustained focus is good for us.”