University study: Watching a long movie is like a workout, basically

Good news, movie lovers: as long as you keep buying theater tickets, there’s no longer any need to go to the gym. We did it!

Okay, so that’s grossly overstating things; please disregard it. But watching a movie is king of like a workout, at least according to a new study commissioned by British theater chain Vue International and carried out by the Faculty of Experimental Psychology at University College London.

And yes, the fact that this study was commissioned by a theater chain is a pretty big red flag, but take a look at the results and see if you can push past it. Researchers broke test subjects into two groups: one group went to a screening of Disney’s live-action Aladdin movie, and the other read a novel for about the same amount of time. Researchers monitored the subjects’ biometric data and administered questionnaires both before and after the activity in question. The movie group displayed a “noticeable increase” in heart rates, which the scientists called “equivalent [of] a light form of cardio.”

See? Watching a movie is exactly like being on a treadmill. Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself again.

What’s more, for about 40 minutes during the movie, the subjects’ hearts remained in the “healthy heart” range, meaning about 40-80 percent of their maximum heart rates. “When completely invested in the film and its plot twists, participants saw changes in their heart rates and increased emotional arousal levels,” the report reads. “Perhaps most fascinatingly, many of these effects were experienced in unison.” Conclusion: “[A] few hours immersed in the big screen provide some much needed relief” and can “actually boost your creativity, productivity, and connectivity.”

Take that, books!

Now, obviously, watching movies is no substitute for actual exercise, and we won’t even talk about the concession stand problem, but maybe this’ll feel a little better the time a three-hour Marvel movies comes out.

Next: Let’s dreamcast HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon

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