Thursday, November 23, 2017

Watching good theatre is good for your heart

This cheers me up enormously. This year, I set myself a challenge to see at least 50 shows. It turns out that has been both an enjoyable challenge and a goal I've managed to beat quite easily. If you include the concerts I've been to this year, my total is currently standing at 86. Check out my previous post about how I get to see so much theatre on a shoestring.

One of my other goals this year was about health and fitness. I've not done as well on that score unfortunately. I've been partially derailed by some health issues which are now being sorted out. But there is good news in that recent research shows that going to the theatre is good for your heart!

I've been reading today about a recent small-scale study where 12 individuals were monitored using wearable technology whilst watching a performance of Dreamgirls at The Savoy Theatre. They claim:
"Watching a live theatre performance can stimulate your cardiovascular system to the same extent as doing 28 minutes of healthy cardio exercise, a new study has found.
The research, conducted by University College London and the University of Lancaster in association with Encore Tickets, the UK’s leading independent ticket provider, monitored the heart rates, brain activity, and other physiological signals of 12 individuals at a live theatre performance of Dreamgirls, the Tony and Olivier award winning musical.
During the performance, the heart rates of audience members spent an average of 28 minutes beating at an elevated range between 50% - 70% of their maximum heart rate. The British Heart Foundation identify this level of heart rate as the optimal heart rate to stimulate cardio fitness and stamina. So, although they were seated for the performance, audience members spent an average of 28 minutes engaged in healthy cardio exercise."
Heart rate graph from participants in the study

I'm not entirely convinced one could class this as 'exercise' but it sounds like it's better for you than slumped on a sofa mindlessly scrolling a screen in your hand with another screen on in the background.

What's particularly interesting for me is how we can use wearable technology similar to a Fitbit or smartwatch to measure people's physical response to something. That opens up a whole new range of research that's now, potentially, much simpler to achieve and doesn't need complex, medical grade equipment to do it.


Day 23/30 NaBloPoMo

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