The Laughing Workout?
We've all laughed until we've cried, or had laughing fits so strong our stomach hurt. As it turns out, laughing can give you a physical and emotional workout--found to increase blood flow, relieve stress and strengthen the immune system.
According to research from Loma Linda University, laughter stimulates the same hormones that exercise does. According to the study, subjects who watched funny movies, had hormonal changes similar to that of exercise and affect on one's appetite, described as "a good balance" between the hormones leptin and ghrelin.
Laughter as a healer
Laughter has long been prescribed by doctors for their post surgery patients - especially heart patients. That's because laughter increases blow flow and opens the diameter of the blood vessels - which is similar to what happens during a cardio session.
Laughter as a mood-changer
Laughter has been found to elevate mood. Studies have shown that the hormone beta-endorphine can increase by 27% Two hormones – in those who watched a funny movie.
Another study, they found that the mere anticipation of laughter reduced the levels of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine by 39 and 70% respectively. High levels of these two hormones can negatively affect the immune system.
Laughter workouts and Laughter Yoga are springing up all over the country. Sessions are usually run like any other exercise session -- for about and hour and led by a facilitator/instructor. The purpose of these classes is to learn how to laugh to feel good. For most groups, the only requirement is to come with the willingness to laugh.
As the foremost laughing researcher, Dr. Lee Berk says, "The reality is laughter is good for you. Even if it is contrived." Dr. Berk continues, "It makes us feel good and it is good medicine. There is plenty of data to support that."