Good news for super-coordinated people everywhere. A new study claims that chewing gum while exercising increases heart rate in both men and women, and even burns a higher amount calories (for men at least). The research was published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science.

Here’s how the study worked. Scientists at Waseda University in Tokyo studied two groups of 46 men and women between the ages of 21 and 69. One group chewed two different amounts of gum while walking for 15 minutes at an average pace. The other group ate a powder (which contained the same ingredients as the gum) before going on a walk.

Researchers measured all participants’ heart rates, as well as the distance and pace of their walking. Once all of this data was analyzed, they found heart rates increased significantly for both genders. More calories were burned by men who chewed gum, which was partially accounted for because they tended to walk faster and longer on average.

The scientists who ran the study are currently theorizing that the increase in heart rate is linked to cardiac-locomotor synchronization. Cardiac-locomotor synchronization is a mechanism that synchronizes heart rate and locomotor rhythm. While it might sound highly technical, it actually makes a lot of sense, given the connection between heart health and physical movement.

This may seem like an odd phenomena to study, but it’s actually not the first time research like this has been conducted. Nearly 20 years ago, a 1999 study in the New England Journal of Medicine called “The Energy Expended in Gum Chewing” found that 19 percent of subjects burned more calories when chewing sugar-free gum while seated.

This is good news for the  17,474 Americans who identify as habitual gum chewers. However while gum can be a great stress reliever, it can also be a source of unnecessary sugar. So unless you’re going sugar-free, be wary of the catch. Otherwise feel free to blow bubbles to your heart’s delight.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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