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Sitting in the cinema ‘counts as a light workout’, scientists find


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Sitting in the cinema ‘counts as a light workout’ because getting immersed in a film speeds up your heart rate, scientists find

  • University College London studied a total of 77 people alongside Vue Cinemas 
  • Cinema-goers spent 45 mins in a heart rate zone which mirrored light exercise
  • This meant their hearts beat at between 40 and 80 per cent of maximum rate
  • Being absorbed in a movie also boosts your concentration and problem-solving 

Watching a film at the cinema could be as good for you as light exercise, a study has claimed.

Researchers found your heart rate increases as much as it would during light cardio for some 45 minutes in the cinema.

The body reacts and is stimulated as your brain becomes immersed in the movie and that long period of focus also has benefits for the mind, researchers said.

A trip to the movies could boost concentration and memory by focusing on one thing for so long instead of juggling multiples devices such as smartphones, tablets and television when watching a film at home.

Researchers said that getting absorbed in a film increases the heart rate in a way which mirrors the effect of light exercise (stock image)

In a study of 51 people who watched the 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin, researchers used sensors to track the heart rates and skin reactions of the viewers.

The research was carried out by University College London and paid for by Vue Cinemas.

The cinema-goers were compared with a group of 26 people who spent the same time reading.

The study found that in the cinema people spent around 45 minutes in a ‘healthy heart zone’ with their heart beating at between 40 and 80 per cent of its maximum rate.

For an average 30-year-old, this could be between 95 and 160 beats per minute. A normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 100bpm.

The same effect could be achieved by light cardiovascular exercise, the researchers said, such as brisk walking or gardening.

The hearts of people watching the film also appeared to synchronise and beat in unison, which could create a feeling of togetherness, the study added.

As well as physical benefits, the problem-solving skills used when trying to follow a plot are a good workout for the brain.

Neuroscience professor 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.

‘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.’

HOW MUCH EXERCISE DO YOU NEED TO DO?

To stay healthy, adults aged 19 to 64 should try to be active daily and should do:

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or:

  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis every week and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or:

  • a mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week – for example, 2 x 30-minute runs plus 30 minutes of brisk walking equates to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

A good rule is that 1 minute of vigorous activity provides the same health benefits as 2 minutes of moderate activity.

One way to do your recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity is to do 30 minutes on 5 days every week.

All adults should also break up long periods of sitting with light activity.

Source: NHS 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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