Forget fad diets – watching frightening films could be the key to shifting the pounds, according to a new study carried out by The University of Westminster.
Researchers found that viewers who sit through horror films can burn nearly 200 calories – the equivalent of one chocolate bar or a large glass of wine!
Measuring participants’ heart rate, oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output, researchers discovered that the number of calories we burn increases by, on average, a third when we watch horror films. And while 80s thriller The Shining took the calorie-burning top spot at a whopping 184 calories, the general rule is the scarier and jumpier the better.
You’d have to walk for half a hour to use up that kind of energy. And, while we do generally endorse healthy eating and exercise, it is Halloween on Wednesday, which seems like a good excuse to swap the gym for a heartrate-increasing horror film. Just remember not to eat too many of those trick-or-treat sweets with your movie – that would undo all the good work…
For using optimum energy pick one of the top ten calorie-burning films:
1. Here’s Johnny! 1980 thriller, The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson, tops the chart at 184 calories.
2. The original man-eating shark, Jaws, will shock and scare you into using 161 calories.
3. The Exorcist sparked controversy when it was released in 1973 – and will burn 158 calories if you can bear to watch it today.
4. 1979 sci-fi thriller Alien has spawned numerous sequels and prequels, but watching the original will use up an impressive 152 calories.
5. Grisly horror film Saw will help you shed the pounds by burning 133 calories.
6. Watching A Nightmare on Elm Street– the 80s creepy thriller film about a group of teenagers who are stalked and killed in their dreams – will use up 118 calories.
7. Sitting through American supernatural horror film Paranormal Activity will burn a mighty 111 calories.
8. The Blair Witch Project– the iconic psychological thriller about a group of students investigating a fabled serial killer – will take care of 105 calories for you.
Ellie is an entertainment, TV and film journalist writing news and (hopefully incredibly witty) comment for RadioTimes.com. She loves light-hearted dramas and glossy US series - and is more than a little bit obsessed with Downton Abbey. Foodie, sun-seeker and aspiring novelist in her own time. Likes the fact that her name rhymes with telly.