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Healing power of laughter

Exercising is good for everyone but it is especially good for you as you age. Exercise is the fountain of youth in many ways as it improves both physical and mental domains. However, just like when we are young, it can be hard to motivate yourself to do the exercise you need. According to a new study, though, if you can incorporate laughter into your exercise then you will not only enjoy your exercise more, you will get more out of it too.

The new study involved older adults living in assisted living facilities who took part in a moderate-intensity group exercise that incorporates playful simulated laughter into a strength, balance and flexibility workout. Simulated laughter involves subjects choosing to laugh and going through the motions of laughing. This facilitates eye contact and playful behaviour that usually results in a transition to genuine laughter.

For six weeks, the subjects attended two 45-minute sessions per week that included 8-10 laughter exercise lasting 30-60 seconds each. The laughter usually was included after every two to four strength, balance and flexibility exercises.

We know that laughing strengthens muscles, relaxes muscles and improves mood. So what did it do for the subjects in this study?

The results showed that subjects experienced significant improvements in mental health and aerobic endurance. The perceived benefit from the program also improved with laughter and 96.2 per cent found laughter to be an enjoyable addition to their exercise. Given the importance of motivation in exercising, this enjoyment factor is an important one.

You can’t have too many opportunities in life to quote Monty Python’s “always look on the bright side of life” and here’s another instance which shows that everything is better when you can laugh about it, even death and ageing.

Source: The Gerontologist

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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