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A group of people in a movie theater reacting to a scary movieWeight loss is tough. You try to eat right, try to get to the gym, but you’re still disappointed every time you step on the scale. Well, there could be an easier way. According to new research, you might be able to burn calories and shed a few pounds just by sitting on the couch and watching scary movies.

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New research by the University of Westminster reveals watching 90 minutes of an adrenaline-inducing movie can burn an average of 113 calories, about the equivalent of what would be melted during a 30-minute walk. The scarier the movie, the more calories burned.

The study measured the total energy expenditure of ten different people as they watched a selection of frightening movies.

Scientists recorded their heart rate, oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output – and discovered the number of calories used increased by on average a third during the films.

The research also revealed films featuring moments designed to make viewers jump in terror are the best calorie-burners, as they cause heart rates to soar.

Dr Richard Mackenzie, senior lecturer and specialist in cell metabolism and physiology at the University of Westminster, said: “Each of the ten films tested set pulses racing, sparking an increase in the heart rate of the case studies.

“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.”

Funded by lovefilm.com, a movie rental company, researchers showed study participants notorious scary movies and monitored their heart rate, oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output. According to researchers, the heart rate spikes while watching a frightening film and creates a surge of adrenaline.

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