The Advantages of Laughter by Dan Hicks (July 17th, 2011 )
We laugh when there’s a good joke. We laugh when we get tickled. We laugh when something meets our fancy. We laugh about something absurd, crazy or unexpected. It’s inherent in the human psyche to love to laugh. We laugh at comedy movies and at comic events in real life. But aside from the amusement and life laughter gives to a party, did you know that it also brings with tremendous health and fitness benefits?
Laughter therapy classes are a flourishing area in the fitness industry. Spawned by the growing scientific proof of the benefits of laughter, these laughter-inspired classes feature long and loud laughs, giggles and cheerful chortling through jokes, recollection of fun moments and even laughing contests. True, laughter is not really all spontaneous in these classes but is often forced. But that’s supported by studies: Even non-spontaneous laughter has fitness benefits for both the body and mind.
One of the benefits of laughter therapy is stress reduction. Here’s something surprising: According to scientists, your body can’t decipher what is genuine laughter from a forced chuckle. So even if you’re really down and out and you attempt a fake chuckle, that still goes a long way towards relieving you of stress and tension. When you’re under severe stress, it’s counter productive to actually bottle it all in, says laughter experts. You’ll only adding to the tension you feel. Instead, it is much better to vent it all out through a hearty chuckle.
Did you know that laughter can enhance blood flow by as much as 20 percent? Like cardiovascular exercise, the heart and lungs will have to work doubly hard to compensate for the increased flow of blood through the rest of the body. Together with the arteries, the cardiovascular and respiratory systems become stronger as a result. Blood pressure and blood sugar levels also get regulated.
Laughter therapy also has the added advantage of strengthening the immune system. The cells in our body that protect us from the diseases caused by harmful viruses, bacteria and free radicals are significantly lessened during long bouts of stress, says research. However, with a good laugh, they are also increased. Toxins are also removed with a hearty chuckle, increasing your body’s chances of staying healthy. So to boost immune system function, give yourself the benefit of one good laugh.
Finally, laughter therapy can also be touted as a fitness regimen on its own. This is because 10 to 15 minutes of laughter can burn as many calories as jogging or some other cardio regimen since it engages key muscles in your body. If you’re on the road to weight loss, then make it a point to laugh as many times as you can during the course of the entire day.
A hearty chuckle isn’t really something difficult to do. If you can’t find a laughter class to enroll in near your area, you can simply laugh on your own. It might seem uncomfortable to laugh by yourself at first, but get the help of comedy movie so you don’t feel so awkward about it. As soon as you’ll get used to laughing, it becomes easier to do so. Laugh your heart out and reap the amazing health benefits!
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