April Fool’s Special – The Health Benefits of Laughter

Laughter is the Best Medicine

We’ve all heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine” and it turns out there might be more truth to this saying than we initially thought.  Medical researchers have compiled a growing body of evidence to suggest that a good chuckle, even when we’re not in a laughing mood, doesn’t just make us feel better, but rather causes chemical changes in our bodies that can lead to a healthier life.

In observation of April Fool’s Day and New York City’s first days of real Spring weather, let’s see how lightening our mood can help improve our health:

Laughter and heart health: Laughter causes us to take larger breaths, oxygenating our blood and improving overall blood flow, acting almost like a low-impact cardio exercise. In fact, 45 minutes of laughter can burn up to 40 calories laughter can burn up to 40 calories. 

Laughter lowers overall stress levels: Laughter also causes our body to release endorphins – feel-good hormones that help lower stress levels. A laughing fit initially incites and then cools down our body’s natural stress response, helping us blow off pent up energy.

Laughter improves pain management: Endorphins do more than lower stress. Studies have found that people with higher endorphin levels also display a higher tolerance for pain from a variety of sources. Unlike artificial painkillers, endorphins are non-habit-forming and are known to be effective at managing chronic and acute sources of pain.

Laughter boosts immunity: Our immune system depends on the body’s lymphatic system to locate and remove germs and waste from our body.  Unlike our cardiovascular system, which stays in constant motion due to the pumping of our heart, the lymphatic system depends on inertia to circulate throughout our body and do its job.  Studies have found that the type of breathing performed during deep belly laughter speeds the movement of our lymphatic system by 10 to 15 times its normal performance.

 

Laughter brings us together: Social isolation and loneliness can have major impacts on our long-term health outcomes, impacting our depression levels, willingness to follow through on a doctor’s plan of care, or even our willingness to seek help when needed.

Hopefully this post brightened up your day and helped explain why laughter really can be the best medicine.

 

If you or a loved one are concerned about your health or ability to continue living independently, call SelectCare or request a free home health care guide to learn how our team can help you face tomorrow’s challenges with a smile.

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