Sitting in the cinema counts as 'a light workout'

13 January 2020, 12:56

Sitting in the cinema is seen as a light workout
Sitting in the cinema is seen as a light workout. Picture: Photo by Krists Luhaers on Unsplash

By Sylvia DeLuca

Watching a film at the cinema could be as beneficial for you as a “light form of cardio” exercise , scientists claim.

A study that followed 51 cinemagoers watch the live action version of Aladdin showed that their heart rates increased into the “healthy heart zone” during the film.

Their heart rates were between 40 and 80 per cent of their maximum healthy heart rate for about 45 minutes during the film, which is equivalent to the health benefits of doing light cardio exercise.

Scientists at University College London (UCL) said watching a film at the cinema can also enhance your memory and concentration - more so than watching a film at home because the cinema has fewer distractions like smartphones and tablets.

The Aladdin cinemagoers were compared with a group of 26 people who spent the same time reading a novel.

Sensors tracked their heart rate, body temperature and the reaction of their skin - and found that the hearts of people watching the film appeared to synchronise and beat in unison, which could create a feeling of togetherness, the study added.

Going to the cinema can be more beneficial than you think
Going to the cinema can be more beneficial than you think. Picture: Pixabay

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.

"At the cinema specifically, there is nothing else to do except immerse yourself.

“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.”

Tim Richards, CEO of Vue International that commissioned the study said: “Between juggling multiple devices and living in a world where we’re almost never offline, switching off has never been more important.

“Not only is the cinema one of the last places where you can truly get lost, but the research shows that it’s actually good for you!”

Last month a Sport England study found that more than half of children do not get enough exercise, with 2.1 million getting less than 30 minutes a day.