Sunday, October 28, 2012
scare the pounds off
Science is focused on the really big-picture problems right now. Male pattern baldness. Dropped calls. The mystery surrounding the success of mediocre sitcoms and the failure of excellent sitcoms. And weight loss, as in, how to do it but not do it simultaneously. It's what you might call a paradox, or whatever. The latest and greatest scientific data dovetails nicely with Halloween totally not on purpose — people can lose a lot of weight if they just sustain significant jolts to the heart, like the jolts one might find, say, in really effective horror movies. That's right — people can lose weight just by sitting by and having the calories scared out of them.
A study of ten people who really need to see more horror movies revealed that the sudden, jolting scares in horror movies are very effective at raising a viewer's heart rate, which, in turn, helps burn calories (that is unless, of course, you've seen tons of horror movies and are hip to the medicine cabinet mirror gag). Researchers at the University of Westminster recorded participants' heart rate, oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output, discovering that the number of calories used increased by on average a third during scary movie screenings.
Obviously, scariness is a matter of taste, so maybe High Tension doesn't quite give you that jolt of adrenaline you'll need to actually burn any calories while you literally do nothing except blink and maybe smoke weed because why else are you watching horror movies all day in your bathrobe, hmm? The study found, though, that, on average, participants responded most intensely (calorie-burning-wise) to the following movies:
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 Chain Saw Massacre: 107 calories
[Rec]: 101 calories
If you're a suggestible, easily startled person who has decided for some reason to lose weight but thinks dieting and exercise are for tools, then these movies will probably (almost definitely) do the trick. If you're not so suggestible, then maybe you should think about strapping a meat vest to your person, walking deep into the woods, and waiting for a friendly bear to scare you. You and the bear can then share a nice laugh over a hard-earned pot of honey.