Laughter with benefits: the physical ones

Laughing-Loud
A-maze-ing Laughter sculptures by Yue Minjun

When I asked myself to list the physical benefits of laughter I just came with: “It relaxes your body and makes you feel  good.”I decided to dig a little further and share with you other wonders of laughter. Despite researches conducted about the direct physical benefits of laughs are rather scarce, some of the benefits are identifiable right away by anyone.

  • Burns calories: according to Maciej Buchowshi, a researcher from Vanderbilt, who conducted a small study, 10-15 minutes of laughter burns 50 calories. If you laugh enough every day, you may not need to go to the gym as often as you do now.
  • Gives an abs workoutLife.Gaiam.com describes well this benefit “when you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach expand and contract, similar to when you intentionally exercise your abs.” If you hate doing crunches, laughter is an alternate option. What a nice after feeling after a belly laugh.
  • Relaxes your body: according to Helpguide.org “a good hearty laugh relieves physical pain and stress leaving your muscles relaxed for 45 min.” It feels the same when I have a good workout. The only difference; there are way more places available for a laugh than a workout.
  • Lowers the blood pressure: researchers from the University of Maryland noticed that the blood vessels of people who just watched a drama tended to tense up, restricting the blood.  On the contrary the blood vessels of people who just watched a comedy behaved normally, expanding and contracting easily. It can protect you against a heart attack and some other cardiovascular issues. It appears to me as a very cost efficient heart medicine.
  • Boosts your immune system: it decreases the stress hormones, increases the immune cells and infection antibodies. As a result your body’s resistance to disease improves. If you have an active illness prevention plan, add laughter to it
  • Triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel good hormone. The secretion of endorphins leads to an overall sense of well-being and contributes to decreases the feeling  of pain. At the same times it reduces the production of cortisol, the “stress hormone”. After a good laugh, you certainly feel serene. As we say in French, “ZENitude” is going all over your body.

Laughter has a lot of benefits and as a reminder this is absolutely free! As I was doing some research about this post I found this interesting video explaining “How does laughter work? “

Sources, HelpGuide, Wedmed.comLife.Gaiam.com

Photo credit: Karinli on Flickr

 

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