Scientists say that sitting in the cinema counts as 'a light work out'

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Multi-ethnic audience enjoying popcorn while watching comedy movie at cinema hall

Good news for exercise-averse movie lovers the world over – while you're watching a film, you're actually working out too.

A bit.

As reported in The Times, Scientists at University College London studied a group of people as they watched the new Disney remake of Aladdin, and made some unusual findings.

As heart rates in the subjects of the study increased while they watched the movie, it was found that it was the equivalent of a light cardio session.

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51 cinemagoers spent 45 minutes in this 'healthy heart zone' during the study, paid for by Vue Cinemas, with their hearts beating between 40 and 80 percent of their maximum rate.

This was compared to 26 people also studied, who spent the same time sitting and reading.

The level of cardiovascular exercise was likened to that of brisk walking or gardening.

Aladdin (Credit: Disney)

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

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“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.”