Science Says Simply Watching Scary Movies Can Burn Calories (Yes, Really)
This Halloween, you officially have our permission to stay on the couch.
Sure, you know it's good for you. But if you feel like skipping the gym in favor of hitting your couch, you're not alone.
As it turns out, that couch session may be its own form of calorie-torching, if you're watching a scary movie, that is. As a 2012 University of Westminster study found, kicking back with a 90-minute (or so) horror film can help you burn 100+ calories. For their research, scientists measured heart rate along with oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output of ten volunteers while they were watching scary movies. It's worth noting that the study was commissioned by the now-defunct movie rental company, LoveFilm. Still, a clear trend emerged: Watching these pulse-spiking scary movies led to participants burning calories. Essentially, when your pulse speeds up, your adrenaline levels spike. This leads to an uptick in your basal metabolic rate (your energy output when your body is at rest), and accordingly, you shed more calories.
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Out of the ten movies researchers screened for the ten people in the study, some super freaky ones topped the list as the highest calorie-burners. The Shining came in first with 184 calories, Jaws took the number two slot with 161 calories, and in third, came supernatural classic, The Exorcist, with 158 calories. Obviously, individuals burn calories at different speeds, but if you're looking to break a sweat and melt away some extra candy bars this Halloween, it may be worth playing your favorite scary flick. Bonus points if you watch it while, you know, on a stationary bike or treadmill.