Through a conducted study, the University of Westminster scientists have verified the possibility of burning almost 200 calories by just watching a horror movie.
According to the researchers, roughly 90 minutes of fear and adrenaline-pumping suspense can make a movie viewer burn up certain amount of calories comparable to a half-hour walk. The 1980 psychological horror film "The Shining" starring Jack Nicholson has been declared the top calorie-burning film where the average viewer burns a reported 184 calories.
The scientists performed their study on ten different movie viewers who watched a variety of horror films. Heart rate, oxygen intake, carbon dioxide output and total energy expenditure were thoroughly measured to determine the exact number of calories burned while watching the horror films.
The research revealed that scenes in a horror film where the viewers leap in surprise are the best calorie-burning moments due to an elevated heart rate.
Dr. Richard Mackenzie, who specializes in cell metabolism and physiology at the University of Westminster, affirmed that "each of the ten films tested set pulses racing, sparking an increase in the heart rate of the case studies. As the pulse quickens and blood pumps around the body faster, the body experiences a surge in adrenaline."
Dr. Mackenzie further added that "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."
A movie rental company called LOVEFiLM provided the horror movies selection for the study at the University of Westminster. LOVEFiLM editor Helen Cowley believes the outcome of the study is helpful to the people who wish to burn calories fast. "We all know the feeling of wanting to hide behind the sofa or grab a pillow when watching scary or hair raising scenes but this research suggests that maybe those seeking to burn some calories should keep their eyes on the screen," Cowley said.
Based on the results of their study, the list of other calorie-burning horror films was released. It includes "Jaws" (161 calories), "The Exorcist" (158 calories), "Alien" (152 calories), "Saw" (133 calories), "A Nightmare on Elmstreet" (118 calories), "Paranormal Activity" (111 calories), "The Blair Witch Project" (105 calories), "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" (107 calories) and [Rec] (101 calories).