According to research from the University of Westminster, watching scary movies makes for a pretty easy workout.The 2012 study revealed that sitting through a heart-pounding, 90-minute horror film can result in a viewer burning an average of 113 calories.
Researchers from the university conducted the study by asking 10 subjects to watch 10 scary movies while their heart rates were being monitored along with oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output. The selection of films included Jaws, The Shining, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Exorcist, and The Blair Witch Project and, unsurprisingly, The Shining came out on top as the film that burned the most calories.
Apparently, watching Jack Nicholson scream "Here's Johnny!" is enough to tighten anyone's muscles — torching cals while keeping you on the edge of your seat. The viewer who watched that film burned through 184 calories during that sitting, while those who sat through Jaws and The Exorcistmanaged to shave off 161 and 158 calories, respectively. As the research implies, watching scary films — specifically the scenes in said films that are the most hair-raising — can cause your heart rate to spike which can then cause your adrenaline to spike.
Admittedly, the sample size is rather small — and, since every body burns calories at different rates, the results may not be typical for everyone. It's still encouraging for anyone who loves a made-you-jump-and-shriek horror flick, and is looking for a valid excuse to convince their less-adventurous friends to watch one with them.
Of course, if you can't make it through a horror film with the confidence that it won't keep you up at night, we'd suggest taking a less complicated approach, going for true cardio, minus the terrifying clowns, ax-wielding murderers, and demons.