Laughter May be a Great Workout Supplement

Exploring Intensity

Laughter May be a Great Workout Supplement

When we think of a gym workout, “laughter” is not a word that usually comes up. Pretty much every adjective and adverb that comes with high intensity is the opposite of having a good chuckle.

But a new study says that this may be a valuable tool — it turns out there may be unknown potential inside us that can be unlocked with a few hearty guffaws.

The study looked at residents in assisted-living spots who tried something called LaughActive. It seems a little silly at first — making people fake laugh around each other — but that silliness is the point: once you start fake laughing then your mind and body start taking that for real laughter, and then you start cracking up. So, according to this article, this was the setup:

For six weeks, study participants attended two 45-minute physical activity sessions per week that included eight to 10 laughter exercises lasting 30 to 60 seconds each. A laughter exercise was typically incorporated into the workout routine after every two to four strength, balance and flexibility exercises. Because laughter is scientifically demonstrated to strengthen and relax muscles, the laughter exercises often involved physicality in the muscles being worked in strength, balance and flexibility exercises to prepare the body for exercise and help it recover.

This ended up having immense benefits for both aerobic endurance and mental well-being after six weeks. There was also an overwhelmingly positive reaction by the participants. Almost 90% of people said it helped them feel like exercise was easier to accomplish and made them more likely to want to exercise again.

Again, this was for older adults and was clearly not a high-intensity kind of regimen. But if getting healthy, sweating buckets and laughing our butts off can all happen together, that sounds great to us. Maybe we should switch workout soundtracks from Black Eyed Peas to some comedy with Chris Rock or Dave Chapelle.

-Shane M.