It's January 15th, a special day for millions as it's their two-week anniversary of not going to the gym despite making it again one of their New Year's resolutions. If that's you: great news! Apparently, going to the movies is just as healthy as going to the gym, so why not do your health a favor and go pay 10 bucks to go watch an Avenger again -- please?
This week, scientists from University College London have claimed that simply watching actors who are in ridiculously good shape gets you in shape too. The study compared 51 people watching the live-action remake of Aladdin to a control group of people reading a novel (we don't know which one, so we'll assume its novelization). As it turns out, the moviegoers' heart rate was higher than the readers and even shot up to the levels of "light exercise" for 45 minutes of the movie's 128-minute runtime -- which incidentally is how often you have to suppress your rage remembering how good the Robin Williams version was.
But the study stresses that you can't benefit from this cinematic cardio session when sitting at home. It only works in a dark theatre where you're forced to give your "undivided attention." Repeat: you won't get into the study's promised "healthy heart zone" by watching Netflix, only in a place that sells 1,000 calorie buckets of buttered popcorn.
At this point, it might be wise to mention that not only has this study not been published in a peer-reviewed journal but also that it was paid for by Vue Cinemas, one of the largest movie theatre chains in the world. But why would that be shady? It's not like the movie theatre industry is in freefall, that declining box office profits from streaming and Disney mob tactics are squeezing them so hard it counts as moderate exercise. That would imply they'd have to resort to journalism bait like dubious-but-headline-friendly science to lure people back to into sitting in someone's else farts and listening to a 30-year-old Dolby System.
So maybe wait with canceling those Zumba classes until more research is done into the actual fitness effects of sitting in a dark room with a bunch of strangers. In the meantime, we'll look forward to other movie theater sponsored science, like how walking across their sticky floors counts as resistance training, how 3-D improves your eyesight, or how going to local art cinemas makes you 20% more attractive to liberal arts majors.
Cedric can be found on Twitter and will absolutely find you more attractive if you support your local arthouse cinema.