The Science of Scared
It’s common knowledge that the holidays make it very hard to eat healthily. Halloween is one of the main culprits with all the candy and sweet treats involved. Luckily for you, there may be a festive way to burn off those extra calories!
Research done by the University of Westminster and reported on by The Guardian found that simply watching scary movies can cause you to burn over 100 extra calories. More specifically, the study determined that viewing a 90-minute horror film can burn 113 calories− the number of calories typically burned during a 30-minute walk.
Scary movie viewers get their heart rates going by watching intense situations and jump scares, and that allows for the burning of calories. The pulse of each of the subjects rose substantially as they watched one of the 10 films tested. As explained by Dr. Richard Mackenzie, professor and cell metabolism specialist at the University of Westminster, “as the pulse quickens and blood pumps around the body faster, the body experiences a surge in adrenaline. It is this release of fast-acting adrenaline, produced during short bursts of intense stress (or in this case, brought on by fear), which is known to lower the appetite, increase the basal metabolic rate, and ultimately burn a higher level of calories.”
Researchers ranked the study’s films in order from most viewer calories burned to the least viewer calories burned. They are as follows.
1. The Shining: 184 calories
2. Jaws: 161 calories
3. The Exorcist: 158 calories
4. Alien: 152 calories
5. Saw: 133 calories
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street: 118 calories
7. Paranormal Activity: 111 calories
8. The Blair Witch Project: 105 calories
9. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: 107 calories
10. [Rec]: 101 calories
With all of this information in mind, be aware that the number of calories that you can burn watching a scary movie is not substantial enough to abandon regular exercise. However, you may feel less guilty about lounging around and watching movies if you know you’re burning calories watching them.
Also, the films listed above are infamous for being some of the scariest in film history and are not appropriate for all audiences. If you plan on watching any this spooky season, you should read their descriptions and study their ratings beforehand.
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