I’ve never been a lover of scary films but yesterday I think I may have inadvertently discovered the cause of my aversion to anything mildly related to horror.
Long story short, I basically got stuck in a haunted house at a fairground when I was a kid after being genuinely petrified by what I was being subjected to. I ended up screaming my head off on a balcony while my parents were at the bottom doing their best to reassure me that everything was going to be OK.
It wasn’t, and eventually they had to call out the fire brigade to bring a massive ladder and get me down like some kind of cat stuck up a tree.
I’ve never been the same since.
Recently, I’ve been thinking of taking my fat ass to the gym, but as a study has revealed, I may be better sitting through a horror film if I’m wanting to lose a few extra pounds.
In a 2012 study, funded by the former video subscription service Lovefilm, researchers from the University of Westminster asked 10 people to watch 10 different scary movies as they monitored heart rate, oxygen intake and output of carbon dioxide.
The top film, The Shining, managed to burn off 184 calories, which according to the American Council on Exercise’s physical activity calorie counter is the number of calories a 140-pound adult would burn after 40 minutes of walking.
Here’s the list of films that were used and the amount of calories they burned off.
10 Top Horror Movies that Burns Calories:
The Shining : 184 calories
Jaws : 161 calories
The Exorcist : 158 calories
Alien : 152 calories
Saw : 133 calories
A Nightmare on Elm Street : 118 calories
Paranormal Activity : 111 calories
The Blair Witch Project : 105 calories
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre : 107 calories
(Rec) : 101 calories
Granted, it’s only a small sample size, but still, it’s a decent return from what is essentially being sat on your arse.
Watching horror films doesn’t just have physical benefits, though, because apparently they can also make you genuinely feel better about yourself.
“The research my colleagues and I have done show a high-arousal negative stimuli improves mood significantly,” says Margee Kerr, a sociologist and fear researcher and author of Scream: Chilling Adventures In the Science of Fear.
She also explains that after a scary experience, people feel less anxious, less frustrated and happier, and in that way it can be seen as “good stress”.
Having said that, an older study from the University of Michigan found that 26% of college students who had experienced a media-based scare during childhood still had “residual anxiety” from the experience.
Which is EXACTLY what I must have from that terrible ordeal at the haunted house.
You know what, this has brought back some terrible memories; I think I’d rather stay out of shape then sit through a load of horror films.
Images via iStock/GIPHY