Everyone laughs at some time or another, and some people actually laugh more often than others. People usually laugh because something if funny, but who has ever thought about the possible health benefits related to laughter, especially the cardiovascular system? Although you may not have thought about laughter in this aspect, many researchers evidently have, and some very interesting findings have been discovered through their extensive research.
Studies have revealed that in addition to cardiovascular benefits, laughing actually causes positive responses throughout the body. These studies have shown that laughing can decrease stress, increase endorphins, which helps to relieve pain in individuals with both acute and chronic pain, and many people suffering from serious illnesses claim that laughter actually helped to cure them. Furthermore, laughing has also been shown to boost the immune system, assisting people in fighting off diseases like certain viruses, upper respiratory tract infections and even cancer.
Laughter has also been proven to cause the hormones in a person’s body to shift as if the person had been working out at a moderate pace, concludes research scientist Lee Berk of Loma Linda University in California. In other words, repetitive laughing is similar to repetitive exercise on the body. Specific studies prove that laughing heartily raises and lowers the blood pressure and the heart rate, just like when a person is exercising, which has been an exciting discovery.
Some doctors and medical centers actually “prescribe” laughter as a way to improve their patients’ cardiovascular systems as well as extend their lives. Healthcare workers have been able to lower their stress levels while gaining increased awareness of their patients’ feelings, therefore improving the healthcare workers’ level of empathy, all with a little laughter. Others have been creating “therapeutic” laughter programs, where laughter is the main treatment for patients suffering from various ailments, with very positive outcomes.
After studying all the research that has been done on laughter and its benefits, it seems as if laughing is actually a fun way to workout in addition to all the other health benefits. Of course the average person is not going to laugh often enough in a day to burn the amount of calories equivalent to a workout, but any benefit is certainly better than none at all. Besides, laughing is fun and takes no effort whatsoever. All you have to do is read, watch or hear something really funny, and you’re going to work out your abdominal muscles and entire cardiovascular system simultaneously. So the next time you’re looking for a good movie to watch, why not choose a really funny comedy? You’ll be able to take advantage of working out your abdominal muscles while technically still sedentary.
Article By Carol Sowell – MDA Publications –
Life Science Laughter & Exercise Article –