Let’s face it; we have all had one of THOSE days. You know you should stop at the gym on the way home, go for a run or just do anything physical. But it’s been a bad day at the office and all you want to do is sit in front of the television, plug in a movie and relax.
Well – good news – according to a study done at The University of Westminster as long as you plug in a horror movie, you’re good to go! That’s right. If you scare yourself for 90 minutes you can burn approximately the same number of calories as going for a half-hour walk. The study was commissioned by LOVEFiLM, a DVD rental company in the UK, so admittedly the results may be a little skewed. The researchers say; “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 lever of calories.”
The study concluded that calorie burning increased by a third when the movie watcher was horrified.
I am a big horror fan, but I prefer to take my dose of fright off the written page. If anyone out there wants to do a study on calories burned while reading a horror novel – I’m your girl! I imagine the results would have to be even better since you add in the cardio of actually turning the pages and the resistance of holding up the book. Laugh if you must, but if you have ever read one of Stephen King’s 900+ page, 'door-stopper weight' books in hardcover, you KNOW what I’m talking about.
I always thought the scariest part about being on a diet was getting on the scale!
Of course, keeping in mind that watching a movie often goes hand in hand (or hand to mouth, as the case may be) with eating popcorn. Even that is not as horrific as it sounds. One cup of air-popped popcorn has approximately 55 calories, so if the following calculations for calories burned according to the movie watched are correct, you can pretty much snack on four cups of popcorn and call it a wash.
According to science, these are the best movies to watch if you want to scare the calories off yourself:
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
As Malene Arpe writing for www.thestar.com astutely points out,
it is interesting that Stephen King’s “Thinner” did not make the list.