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Watching a horror film 'burns nearly 200 calories'

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A new study has revealed that watching scary movies can burn up to 200 calories a sitting.

The adrenaline rushes that viewers experience during a 90-minute horror film are believed to use up the same amount of energy as is contained within a bar of chocolate.

Jack Nicholson, The Shining

© Rex Features / Moviestore Collection/Rex Features



According to The Sunday Telegraph, scientists from the University of Westminster monitored the total energy expenditure of ten different people as they watched a selection of movies.

Participants' heart rates, oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output were measured and the study found that on average, the number of calories used increased by a third during horror film viewing.

The movie that burned the most calories across the board was 1980 psychological thriller The Shining, with the average viewer using up 184 calories - close to the amount burned during a half-hour walk.

Steven Spielberg's Movies: 'Jaws'


Classic shark horror Jaws finished second, with viewers burning on average 161 calories, and The Exorcist came third, with participants using up around 158 calories during each viewing.

The research also confirmed that films featuring shock moments designed to make viewers jump are the best calorie-burners, as they cause a spike in heart rate.

"Each of the ten films tested set pulses racing, sparking an increase in the heart rate of the case studies," explained Dr Richard Mackenzie, senior lecturer and specialist in cell metabolism and physiology at the University of Westminster.

"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."

Helen Cowley, editor of LOVEFiLM - which commissioned the study - added: "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 top ten calorie-burning horror films are as follows:

  1. 1. The Shining: 184 calories

  2. 2. Jaws: 161 calories

  3. 3. The Exorcist: 158 calories

  4. 4. Alien: 152 calories

  5. 5. Saw: 133 calories

  6. 6. A Nightmare on Elm Street: 118 calories

  7. 7. Paranormal Activity: 111 calories

  8. 8. The Blair Witch Project: 107 calories

  9. 9. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 105 calories

  10. 10. [Rec]: 101 calories

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