Published on October 28th, 2012 | by Key Reads0
Laughing Affects The Body Like Exercise
The old folk saying, “Laughter is the best medicine”, may just be true, at least where weight loss is concerned. Researchers have come to the startling new conclusion that laughing affects the body like exercise.
The idea that laughing is actually good for your health is not a new one. Since the 1970’s, numerous studies have been conducted on the health benefits of laughter. Scientists have found that laughter can relieve stress, and the detrimental hormones that are a side affect of it, help increase blood flow, and boost our immune systems. The idea that laughing affects our bodies like exercise, however, has been met with no little skepticism on the part of the health community.
The research that gave us this new information was conducted by Dr. Lee Berk of Loma Linda University. Dr. Berk presented his research on laughter at the 2010 Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim, California. The small scale study was conducted using 14 volunteer participants.
The participants were asked to watch either a distressing or hilarious video clip. All of the participants had their blood pressure and blood samples taking before and after the experiment, and had their hormones monitored. The hormones the researchers were specifically interested in were leptin and ghrelin. The former represses appetite and the latter increases it.
After watching the distressing video, a 20 minute clip of the movie “Saving Private Ryan”, the participants showed no significant changes in their hormone levels. After watching the hilarious video, however, the participants exhibited hormone changes similar to those shown in people who have completed moderate physical exercise.
This doesn’t mean you can skip going to the gym and just sit around watching funny cat videos on the internet, but it does suggest that laughing affects the body like exercise, which could have interesting applications for people who are too ill to exercise or have troubles eating. More studies will definitely have to be conducted to discover the full health benefits of laughter, but the results so far are both interesting and promising.