Laughter Is Good Exercise – Here’s 8 Reasons Why

Three years ago I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology – Life Coaching. I only mention it because I am 60 years old and want to say, “Go for it ladies!” Don’t let age stop you from anything you want to accomplish! I had to do a video presentation for my Communications class and I chose to do it on LAUGHTER is the best medicine! Where would I be without it? How about you?

My video presentation was entitled “Laughter is Medicinal.” I’m sure you have heard that it is the BEST medicine. But did you know that it is great EXERCISE too?!? Yes! Let me tell you the facts! How does laughing make you feel? Can you remember a time when you laughed so hard your belly hurt, your throat constricted and tears ran down your face? According to the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor and studies done at the Univelaughterrsity of Maryland, these responses, along with others, hold many health benefits. Now for the facts!

8 Ways Laughter Is Good Exercise

1) It reduces stress hormones, which boosts the immune system.

2) While laughing, natural killer cells, called T-cells and B-cells, are increased. They destroy tumors and viruses in the body.

3) It protects the heart. Researchers have determined that laughing 100 times is equal to riding a bike for 15 minutes – cardiovascular exercise! This explains why you are often tired after a good laugh. So… a minute of laughing or 15 minutes on a bike?

4) When you laugh, blood receives oxygen; so, blood flow is increased and blood pressure is lowered.

5) Laughter is healing for the mind and emotions. It adds joy and zest to life!

6) Laughing can provide the needed release when we find ourselves overloaded with negative emotions such as anger, stress, sadness or fear.

7) It promotes a feeling of well-being and can reduce pain. Helpguide.org states, “Laughing releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.”

8) Laughter is related to making and strengthening our human connections. It feels good to laugh with people. It adds to our sense of well-being.

I can personally attest to the healing power of laughter. I had a volatile upbringing, but somehow, humor became an integral part of my life. I was voted ‘class clown’ and ‘wittiest’ in my senior year of high school in 1975 and MC’d a few comedy fund raisers. I know firsthand that laughter holds great medicinal value.

In closing, I’d like to quote Patch Adams, a medical doctor who uses humor in his care of patients. “Remember laughing? Laughter enhances the blood flow to the body’s extremities and improves cardiovascular function. Laughter releases endorphins and other natural mood elevating and pain-killing chemicals, improves the transfer of oxygen and nutrients to internal organs. Laughter boosts the immune system and helps the body fight off disease and cancer cells, as well as viral, bacterial and other infections.”

So Ladies… One minute of laughing, or 15 minutes on a bike? Your choice! By the way, if you haven’t seen Patch Adams with Robin Williams, it’s a must see!


Works Cited

http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/human-nature/otheremotions/laughter.htm
http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patch_Adams

8 Responses to Laughter Is Good Exercise – Here’s 8 Reasons Why

  1. Rachel says:

    Hi Robin,
    It’s great to see supporting evidence for what I think we all know to be true! I can’t help wondering what ‘laughing 100 times’ is though? Is that 100 individual ‘ha’s’? As in ‘ha, ha,ha’ would be 3 laughs? I’m glad you said at the end that it would be a minute of laughing, but it did send me off on a tangent wondering about how we measure laughter because there is certainly a difference between a polite titter (marvellous word that, isn’t it?!) and a good, all-out, gut wrenching, blinded by tears, until you’re breathless, laugh. That sort of laugh feels more like a 30 minute gym workout, so I wonder if we can objectively measure the effectiveness of laughter with a heart rate monitor or some type of Fitbit? Ok, now you’ve really sent me down a rabbit hole!!

    I think Patch Adams was really on to something and I’d love to see wider use of laughter as therapy and exercise – imagine if our prisons used laughter.
    Thanks for this great topic Robin – you’ve definitely got me thinking today and now I’m wondering how we can deliberately build laughter into our lives. It’s one thing to say that laughter can replace 15 minutes on a bike but I can go to a cycle class at 6 in the morning, when I am highly unlikely to be having a good belly laugh!! Any suggestions or resources for building it into our day?
    Many thanks,
    Rachel

    • Robin says:

      Hi Rachel, Well the word titter made me laugh! Thanks for that. And to answer your question about ways to get more laughter into your life, I’ll have to submit a link to another post Why Laughter Is Important. Enjoy! And thanks so much for sharing your experience!

  2. Lauren Kinghorn says:

    Hi Robin, ooh… I loved Patch Adams! And all Robin Williams’ movies! I was devastated to discover that he took his own life, and suffered from depression for years, as through his movies, he gave us all such hope. Now when I watch his movies, I can’t help but feel sadness behind the surface of his happy exterior.
    Excellent article though, and maybe this explains why children are so much happier than adults. They laugh so readily and so often.

    • Robin says:

      I’m with you Lauren. His death had an impact on me and sadness was the top emotion. I think we all experience days when we’d like to be ‘out of here’, but to get to the place where you’d plan and execute your execute your exit is really, really sad… and devastating to those who are touched by your life. Robin had so many great movies that touched us all. I wish he could have kept that childlike happiness, and kept laughing….

  3. Liz says:

    You rock. I love this page. I am a firm believer in laughter. I used it in the classroom for 34 years, it was a great way to diffuse tension and avoid confrontations. I never sent a student to the principle’s office. I just cracked a good comment and everyone would laugh and calm down. So not only is it healthy, but it helps in tense situations. I am a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. Thanks for confirming it!!!

    • Robin says:

      Hi Liz and wow! A teacher for 34 years…Did you stay with the same age group all the way through? I love the way you used laughter in your classroom. I wish you were my teacher growing up. I was always in trouble. Just couldn’t stop myself from letting the wit fly. My fifth grade nun was so frustrated at me for getting the class laughing, that she came next to my desk and threw her pen to the ground…which stuck in the floor…and caused the class to roar…and caused her to roar too. Even so, I lost recess for a month. AH memories!

  4. Robin says:

    I am very thankful for my job at the post office and that I’ll be retiring Sept. 1st. I hope the website will be a blessing to the over-50 women who visit. I will eventually be offering Life Coaching on the site. Thanks for stopping by, Robin

  5. JP says:

    Awesome article. I really liked the fact that you, even after all the years, still decided to get you degree in psychology. It shows that you really go for what you want. Even when we feel down, it’s so important to always chase our dreams so that we can feel alive an accomplished. And even if we don’t attain a certain objective, we’ll always grow.

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