Laugh Your Way to Health & Happiness

A recent study conducted by the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine reported that laughter not only enhances your mood, but it may also protect your heart. During the study, 20 healthy participants were shown 2 movies: a funny comedy and a war saga. After viewing the war (stress-inducing) film, participants' blood vessels constricted and blood flow was reduced in 14 of the 20 participants. When viewing the comedy, 19 of the 20 participants experienced improved circulation and blood flow. The researchers explained that the increased blood flow was similar to the benefits experienced with exercise.

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So what does it for you—I Love Lucy reruns, Popeye cartoons, or your favorite comedy club? Although neither these researchers (nor SparkPeople) would encourage you to trade your exercise routine for TV, a daily dose of belly shaking, gut-busting laughter is always permitted—and now recommended!
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Member Comments

Good article and laughter feels good all over! Report
Laughter is free! Report
On the 5% Spring Challenge we are working on LAUGHTER And SMILING because as this pointed out,,,it changes our thoughts. WOOHOOO !! Report
Laughter is the best medicine. I love to laugh! Report
This works for me Report
My pastor preached on this subject one sunday in church. He say laughter is good for you and you always try and find something to make you laugh. So I will put in a funny movie or watch something on t.v. to make me laugh Report
We have a Laughing Yoga chapter in my town. I've decided to check it out this weekend. Report
Recently I attended an Occupational Health and Safety workshop that included a "Laughter Yoga" session. I didn't know what to expect, and at first it seemed a bit forced as we were supposed to make "smiley" faces and "fake laugh", but everybody looked so goofy doing these things that it wasn't long before we were killing ourselves with real laughter. It was a great invigorating workshop. I took it right after lunch when I'm normally fighting off sleepiness - no problem with that! Report
My gym instructor likes to make us laugh during our training and often demands that we smile! She leads by example and we all have a great time. Makes me want to go back for more and it is such a mood enhancer.... Report
One of the blessings of netflicks and the $5 bin at your local store is that so many old comedies are on DVD and can be watched for very little money. I also find VHS movies at thrift stores. I recently bought four Muppet movies for 50 cents each. My favorite comedy teams are Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, and Don Knotts and Tim Conway. Anything I have seen with these guys is hilarious. Even my grandkids enjoy them. On a more mature level, There is "Support Your Local Sheriff" , "Grumpy Old Men", and "Wild Hogs". Most every comedy from before 1960 is clean, nonviolent, and funny. That's why they are so popular.

I whole heartedly believe in all this laughter talk! I don't watch many movies because I don't like the violence and high drama. I wish someone would suggest some really funny movies.....I wouldn't know where to begin to pick one. Report
I agree with this,laughter is good for you. I try to daily laugh. Sometimes commercials are funny ,and I look for comedy shows to watch. Report
My favorite way to pass the time on the elliptical is watching I Love Lucy DVDs. I puff and laugh at the same time - double benefit!! Report
no argument from me. I completely believe in laughter. could always use more
Quick--tell me a joke! I gotta burn some more calories! Report

About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.