Congratulations Halloween enthusiasts, science is on your side! A very scientific study by scientists at a science place has officially proven that scary movies can help you burn the calories from all that candy you’ve been eating and get you down to your prime fighting weight so you can take on Leatherface in hand to hand combat.
The University of Westminster hooked subjects up to monitor their heart rate, oxygen usage, and carbon dioxide output and showed them a range of horror movies to calculate the calories expended while they presumably forced their eyes open with scary machines and laughed.
Isn’t this how primates get infected with rage viruses? DON’T THESE SCIENTISTS KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT EXPERIMENTS GONE WRONG?! Maybe it was all worth it though, because they found that subjects burned an average of one third more calories while in a state of simulated terror.
Dr. Richard Mackenzie of the University of Westminster explains:
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. 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.
It makes sense that an increase in heart rate and adrenaline would also equate to an increase in calorie expenditure, but I have so many questions. Had the subjects seen any of the films before? Were they viewing them for the first time? Is there a difference between watching Hellraiser IV the 1st time or the 50th?
(The answer is no, it’s awful every time why aren’t you watching Hellbound: Hellraiser II? Jillian Michaels would be so disappointed in you. Weak effort.)
And what happens if you’re just really, really frightened of Pride and Prejudice? Can you still lose weight if you shudder every time Mr. Darcy pops out from around the corner looking dashing?
Of course instead of sitting on your couch watching The Shining from between your fingers you could just walk around the block or jump up and down in place for 3 or 4 minutes, but that wouldn’t be nearly as fun. If you’re REALLY wild you could do both at the same time at a haunted house, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves that would require you to leave your house and put on pants.
Let’s get to the most important takeaway from this research: what exactly do I need to watch to burn off the Reese’s Cup Denver omelette I had for breakfast this morning?
Top 10 calorie-burning frightening films from the study:
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 Chain Saw Massacre: 107 calories
10. [Rec]: 101 calories