I Was So Scared, I...Lost Weight?!

scared audience.jpg
Seeing a horror movie can be exhausting, especially if you are like me and hate scary films. You're on the edge of your seat the entire time and you are nervously anticipating the next thing to pop out and scare the bejeezus out of you. But maybe that's a good thing, especially if you're trying to lose weight. Say what?!

A recent study found that it is possible for audiences to actually burn calories while watching scary movies, granted that they are actually scared. The study, ran by a British movie rental company, found that movies can scare audiences enough to actually burn a number of calories, depending on the degree of horror. The study observed the pulse, heart rate, oxygen intake, and carbon dioxide output of an audience through a series of horror films. They compiled a list of films that burn the most calories (The Shining, Jaws, and The Exorcist topped the list).

Of course, there are problems with this study. The first, and most obvious, is the small sample space of only ten movie-watchers. To really prove this hypothesis, more studies like this one will have to be conducted with similar results. Additionally, as any scary movie enthusiast will tell you, these kinds of movies tend to only be truly scary the first time you see them. On a second watch, the audience can already anticipate horror which might lead to a decrease in racing pulse and thumping heart rate. Thus, watching these movies for the first time, and the first time only, will give the desired result, but don't expect to burn all those calories on repeated views.

But don't be discouraged, you horror film virgins! If you're looking to drop that extra pound, try out a scary movie marathon. And if you've seen it before, watch it again - just don't expect your waistline to be any slimmer the next morning.


Very interesting and Halloween-relevant!

This article on the same study goes deeper into these results, explaining the scientific background of the burnt calories. The burnt calories can be attributed to something called fast-acting adrenaline, or a sudden release of the hormone epinephrine - a heart-rate a metabolic shift regulator. The epinephrine release is due to, as the article coins it, the "short bursts of intense stress" we experience when a scary part in the movie occurs. This epinephrine release intensifies our basal metabolic rates, meaning we expend a sufficient amount of energy to burn calories. The release also works in suppressing our appetites!

On a scientific basis, it really does seem logical that watching scary films can burn calories - however, I still wouldn't make it my primary plan for weight loss.

Despite the studies findings and the scientific background I found about sudden bursts of fear burning calories, ten people is a very small sample size on which to base this hypothesis. Since the science does seem verifiable, I think it would be worth it to continue this study with a larger sample size and see if the results persist!

This is really interesting! I've never heard of this before. It made me wonder if funny movies cause weight loss as well? As long as you're laughing a lot, they do! Laughter helps people lose weight. A study was done based on 45 adults and found that laughing for 10-15 minutes can burn 10-40 a day. If the movie is really funny and you laugh for at least 10 minutes, you will burn some calories. So... keep watching those scary and funny movies if you want to burn calories!


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