Can Scary Movies be a Workout?

scary movies

Photo by Sammy-Sander on Pixabay.

Frightened… and Fit?

There are a few reasons why I love scary movies, and now I may be adding another reason to my list! While watching a scary movie doesn’t replace a full-blown workout, research has shown that you could possibly lose a little more than 100 calories by just enjoying a spooky film.

The Guardian reported on a study by the University of Westminster that determined watching a 90-minute horror film could result in the burning of up to 113 calories: the equivalent of a 30-minute walk.

They found that movies that include jump scares are better at burning calories because they typically get the heart beating at a rapid rate. The 10 films used in the study had a significant impact on the heart rates of the subjects. Dr. Richard Mackenzie, professor and cell metabolism specialist at the University of Westminster, explained that “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.”

Running the Gauntlet

The aforementioned study ranked the tested movies in order of highest average calories burned to least average calories burned. They are ranked as follows:

1. The Shining: 184 calories
2. Jaws: 161 calories
3. The Exorcist: 158 calories
4. Alien: 152 calories
5. Saw: 133 calories
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street: 118 calories
7. Paranormal Activity: 111 calories
8. The Blair Witch Project: 105 calories
9. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: 107 calories
10. [Rec]: 101 calories

Please be aware: this is not a suggestion to stop your workout routine! Keep your good habits going! However, with this information in mind, you may feel less guilty about lounging on your couch while enjoying a scary film. Make note that these movies may be too intense for some audiences, so follow the ratings and proceed with caution.


We hope that this information on burning calories through scary movies is useful to you.

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