In the study, 51 participants wore biometric sensors to measure their heart rate and body temperature as they watched the live-action remake of Aladdin. Another group of 26 participants was tasked with reading a book for the same length of time (two hours).
The reading group experienced no change in their biometric stats, while the movie-going group recorded a "noticeable increase" in heart rates, spending approximately 45 minutes in the "healthy heart zone".
According to the researchers, the findings were "equivalent to a light form of cardio" that "can help to build cardio fitness levels and burn fat".
Beyond the heart health benefits, Dr. Joseph Devlin, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL, suggests there are positive mental health implications, too.
"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."
No wonder 55% of the viewers felt that watching the movie had a therapeutic, uplifting effect on their mind.
Now, just to be clear, you can’t give up on exercise entirely, but you can consider these findings permission to enjoy an air-conditioned weekend in the comfort of the cinemas guilt-free.