Health | Did You Know

Watching Horror Movies Can Actually Help You Burn Calories, According To Study

Left: Warner Bros./ Right: Zululand Observer

For as long as I could remember, being a couch potato never helped anyone lose weight. It's common sense that eating a balanced diet and exercising is the most effective way to be fit.

Sitting down and watching TV sounds like the last thing that will help you shed the pounds, but that's probably because you haven't been picking the right genre of movie or show.

A study from the University of Westminster has recently found that you can lose weight simply by watching horror movies, minus the snacks, of course.

The researchers came to this conclusion after noting that the study's participants experienced elevated heart-rate, increased oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output while watching a 90-minute adrenaline-pumping film, which are all signs of calorie burn.

"Each of the 10 films tested sent pulses racing, sparking an increase in the heart rate of the case studies," Dr. Richard Mackenzie, senior lecturer and specialist in cell metabolism and physiology of the university told The Guardian.

He continued, "As the pulse quickens and blood pumps around the body faster, the body experiences a surge in adrenaline. It is this release of fast-acting adrenaline, produced during short bursts of intense stress (or in this case, brought on by fear), which is known to lower the appetite, increase the basal metabolic rate and ultimately burn a higher level of calories."

Also, those jump scare scenes we all love to hate are what really help your body go into calorie-burning mode as they can easily spike up your heart rate. This is why so many of us experience heavy breathing, sweating, and exhaustion after sitting through a scary movie.

A still from the 2004 horror movie "Saw"Lionsgate/Comic Book

Not all horror movies are created equal so the researchers also complied a list of the best calorie-burning horror flicks. Stanley Kubrick classic The Shining came out on top.

On average, viewers who watched the creepy psychological horror starring Jack Nicholson burned a whopping 184 calories, which is the amount you can burn with a brisk 30-minute walk.

The Grady twins in "The Shining."Today/ Warner Bros. via YouTube

Here are the top 10 most calorie-burning horror films:

10. [REC] - 100 calories

Manuela Velasco in '[REC]'
Filmax International / Magnet Releasing

9. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - 107 calories

Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface in 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'
Vortex / Bryanstan Distributing Company

8. The Blair Witch Project - 105 calories

Heather Donahue in 'The Blair Witch Project'
Haxan Films / Artisan Entertainment

7. Paranormal Activity - 105 calories

Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat see a shadow in their bedroom in 'Paranormal Activity'
Blumhouse Productions / Paramount Pictures

6. A Nightmare on Elm Street - 188 calories

Heather Langenkamp as "Nancy" trapped in a nightmare in 'A Nightmare on Elm Street'
New Line Cinema

5. Saw - 133 calories

"Jigsaw" on his tricycle in 'Saw'

4. Alien - 152 calories

Sigourney Weaver as "Ellen Ripley" with the crew of the Nostromo in 'Alien'
20th Century Fox

3. The Exorcist - 158 calories

Max Von Sydow as "Father Merrin" stands outside the MacNeils' home in 'The Exorcist'
Warner Bros.

2. Jaws - 161 calories

Roy Scheider as "Chief Martin Brody" telling the crew they're gonna need a bigger boat in 'Jaws'
Universal Pictures

1. The Shining - 184 calories

Jack Nicholson as "Jack Torrence" saying "Here's Johnny!" in 'The Shining'
Warner Bros.

While this study bears good news for fans of the horror genre who are attempting to lose weight, it's important to recognize that watching these movies isn't going to give you the same results that working out does.

Don't replace your regular gym session with a movie marathon, but on those days when you don't feel like leaving your house, you can scare the pounds away by putting on a horror film.

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.