They say that laughter is the best medicine and research supports the idea that it can have a positive impact on health and fitness, so much so that it has been linked with increasing longevity of life. From your mind to your abs, here are some of the benefits of cracking up on a daily basis...
Sometimes you laugh so hard that your abdominal muscles begin to ache, also known as a belly laugh. Core strength is vital to all aspects of fitness including power, agility, balance and coordination. Laughter works your abs, diaphragm and can even reach as far as your shoulders...so get giggling!
Improve Your Mood
It is obvious that laughing improves your mood but it can do wonders for your workout too! Laughter can raise your pain threshold allowing you to push harder during your workout where you may usually let fatigue get the better of you! Push out a few extra reps, increase the length of your workout and reach a personal best just by having a laugh with your friends. Laughing with your training partner at the gym also helps to boost camaraderie which can increase motivation for the both of you and help you battle fatigue for longer as you enjoy a little healthy competition.
Trying to steer clear of colds and flu in the cool weather is difficult when you have a vigorous workout routine which either involves attending the gym (where people leave their germs all over machines) or outside (where it is easy to catch a cold). Several studies have indicated that laughter can have a positive impact on the immune system, helping to increase the levels of antibodies and white blood cells ready to fight off germs.
Laughter is associated with lowering blood pressure and improving blood circulation. Combine this with its stress relieving qualities and the fact that you get a mini workout from an increased heart rate and you are onto a winner. Studies have shown that laughter can boost blood flow by as much as 22% whereas stress reduces blood flow by as much as 35%.
Whether you are an endurance athlete or focus on strength and power, your breathing is key to an effective workout. While a fit of laughter can leave you feeling breathless, studies indicate that laughter has a similar beneficial effect to yoga power breathing, helping you to control your breathing and push through fatigue.
Hasan H, Hasan TF, Laugh Yourself into a Healthier Person: A Cross Cultural Analysis of the Effects of Varying Levels of Laughter on Health, International Journal of Medical Sciences, 2009, 6(4): 200-11.
Martin RA, Is Laughter the Best Medicine? Humour, Laughter and Physical Health, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2002, 11(6): 216-20.