Scientists have discovered a new way for couch potatoes to burn calories while glued to the box––watch adrenaline-pumping horror movies. A study shows that a horror movie may burn nearly 200 calories in 90 minutes, equivalent to a bar of chocolate
The University of Westminster study, commissioned by a UK movie rental company, Love Film, measured the energy expenditure of different people watching various horror movies and found that as the viewer's pulse quickened and adrenaline surged, the body increased calorie consumption by a third above normal compared to when the subjects sat in front of a blank screen, the Daily Mail reports.
According to The Telegraph, the study measured the total energy expenditure of ten different people as they watched a selection of movies. The scientists measure the heart rate, oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output of each subject. The information was used to measure the number of calories consumed in 90 minutes.The study authors found that on the average, viewers increased calorie consumption by a third.
According to The Telegraph, the study found that Stanley Kubrick's 1980 psychological thriller "The Shining," starring Jack Nicholson, was the best way to burn calories while watching TV. The average viewer burned an incredible 184 calories in 90 minutes, more than the amount of calories burned in a half-hour walk or the equivalent of a big chocolate bar.
Steven Spielberg's 1975 classic "Jaws," consumed 161 calories, while the 1973 film "The Exorcist," burned 158 calories. Other top calorie burners were Alien (1979), Saw (2004), the Spanish horror classic, "A Nightmare on Elm Street," and "Paranormal Activity."
According to the Global Post, the body burned these large amounts of calories even while the subjects sat still and hardly moved.
The study also noted that the increased metabolism of subjects was due to higher levels of the "flight or fight" hormone, adrenaline (epinephrine).
According to lead author Dr. Richard Mackenzie, senior lecturer and specialist in cell metabolism and physiology at the University of Westminster, "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."
The Daily Mail reports Mackenzie, said: ‘It is the release of fast-acting adrenaline, produced during short bursts of intense stress, or in this case, fear, which is known to lower the appetite, increase the basal metabolic rate and ultimately burn a higher level of calories."
The study concluded that subjects may burn even more calories while watching TV if scary movies that make them jump in terror and cause heart rate to soar are selected.
According to Helen Cowley, editor of the movie rental company Love Film, that commissioned the study:
"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."The Huffington Post lists the top 10 calorie-burners:
The Shining: 184 calories
Jaws: 161 calories
The Exorcist: 158 calories
Alien: 152 calories
Saw: 133 calories
A Nightmare on Elm Street: 118 calories
Paranormal Activity: 111 calories
The Blair Witch Project: 105 calories
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 107 calories
[Rec]: 101 caloriesLove Film may be recommending these movies to weight watchers.