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Scary movies and gorging on candy are two major parts of the joy of Halloween, and it turns out one of these is actually good for you! Well, at least for your waistline.
The Telegraph reports a new study commissioned by the movie rental company LOVEFiLM has discovered that all that heart pounding, pulse racing, gasping and screaming that we experience while watching horror movies kicks up the calories we burn by about a third. The University of Westminster says this means viewers of scary movies can burn nearly 200 calories over the course of a film, which is about the value of a chocolate bar. For some perspective, a similar effect could be had by taking a half-hour walk, say around your neighborhood begging for candy in costume.
While test subjects watched a selection of ten horror films, from The Blair Witch Project to Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Exorcist, researchers measured their heart rate, oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output to determine how many calories each movie caused them to burn. The ranking of the ten tested calorie-burning terrors with their averages is listed below:
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
With Jaws and The Shining topping the list, it might be easy to assume slow burn horror has an edge on burning calories, but researchers said it was jump scares that give the biggest spike in expended energy as these moments cause heart rates to soar. When this happens, the body gets a surge in adrenaline that lowers appetite and increases the body's Basal Metabolic Rate, causing a higher level of calorie burning. So basically, follow up your trick or treat snacking with some seriously scary cinema, and you'll come out rattled but lighter. Plus, this study doesn't even account for the impact of watching ghastly gore or body horror that might make you lose your appetite all together!