Health benefits to watching movies

It’s been a long day.  All you want to do is craw into bed, put on some sweatpants, and watch a movie that has been on your Instant Queue for a couple months.  There is something so therapeutic about that scenario.  Why is that?

There are different emotional and physical effects from watching certain genres of movies.  For instance, according to the University of Manchester in the UK, one can burn up to 180 calories from watching horror movies such as The Shining, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Exorcist.

According to New York Daily News, one can burn 184 calories from watching The Shining.  This is mainly caused by the increase in heart rate and the increase of adrenaline.  The surge in adrenaline produces short bursts of stress, which can lead to a lower appetite that then increases the metabolism rate in the body.

Other movies that had the most calories burned were:

Jaws– 161 calories

The Exorcist– 158 calories

Alien- 152 calories

Saw- 133 calories

Nightmare on Elm Street- 113 calories

According to the Chicago Tribune, comedies can also help with lowering stress levels and help your immune system.  Numerous studies have proven that laughter has many benefits such as decrease stress hormones therefore having a healthier immune system.

Researchers at the University of Maryland have found that laughing in a comedy can dilate blood vessels by 22 percent.  Dilating blood vessels creates more blood flow resulting in lower blood pressure.

“Comedies can also relieve anxiety as well as reduce aggression and fear”, said Dr. Michael Miller, director of the University of Maryland’s Center of Preventive Cardiology.

Some great comedy suggestions are The Big Lebowski, Bridesmaids, Hangover, Animal House, Airplane, Knocked Up, Superbad, and Anchorman.

Romantic movies also have a similar health benefits as watching comedies, but provide a psychological aid.  Main characters in romantic movies are depicted as being flawed and are uplifted and forgiven for their mistakes.  People who watch these movies can identify with similar issues and see how their mistakes can be forgiven.  It can be extremely therapeutic for movie-watchers to see this and parallel it to their own lives.

Romantic movies also have a tendency to have watchers become emotional.  Crying also can act as a stress reliever because it helps balance the chemical imbalance in your body caused by stress.  It also acts as a “purifier” to the body by getting rid of toxins in the body.

Some great romantic movies include Pride and Prejudice, Love Actually, Ghost, Notting Hill, Casablanca, and When Harry Met Sally.

 So prescribe yourself a well-needed movie after your very long day, whether it is a horror, comedy, or romantic films, and watch knowing that it is benefiting your emotional and physical state.

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