Is laughter really the best medicine?

What do you call a pig that knows karate?

A pork chop! Ha!

Corniness aside, a silly joke or a ‘punny’ pun can do more for your health than just causing a chuckle and creating a smile. Research on the specific health benefits of laughter is still preliminary, as it can be hard to determine if the benefits are actually coming from the physical act of laughing or from something more environmental or psychological.

Nevertheless, there’s no need for a prescription to tell you that regular laughter creates a number of positive benefits on your mind and body. We all feel better from a good old-fashioned belly laugh and it’s contagious to be around people who are laughing.

The physical act of laughter produces similar benefits to your body as exercise.  When laughing we are stretching the muscles in the face and body, and causing our pulse and blood pressure to go up.  In turn, we are breathing faster and sending oxygen to our tissues. Laughter helps unrestricted blood to flow throughout the body. 10-15 minutes of laughter burns 50 calories, and while that amount is a small notch towards the grand scheme of things, every little bit helps. Plus, all I have to do is laugh and I can burn at least some calories? Sign me up!

Additional benefits of laughter include creating more creativity and productivity, increasing circulation, releasing endorphins, lowering blood sugar levels, aiding in slight pain relief, relaxation, and even sleep.  A study created by Loma Linda University concluded that laughter raises our levels of disease fighting immunoglobulins by 14 percent, justifying the idea that laughter can physically make you feel better and stay healthy.

Want an excuse to laugh all day for 10 days straight (and burn a lot more than just 50 calories)? Grand Rapids’ own LaughFest will be in its’ 3rd year this year and runs from March 7th to 17th.  LaughFest, put on by Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, brings together comedians, community, and charity. Visit the website for the schedule of events and information on purchasing tickets.

What is your favorite pun?

Photo credit: lanchongzi

Kristin Coppens

About Kristin Coppens

Kristin Coppens is responsible for BCBSM coverage of the West Michigan, Northern Michigan, and Upper Peninsula regions. Kristin is a writer, social media enthusiast, and information junkie. A self-proclaimed foodie, techie, and political nerd, she is a dedicated promoter of Grand Rapids community development, urban engagement, arts, healthcare, wellness, supporting and buying local, entrepreneurism, and the city as a whole.
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  1. Don Freehafer, PT 3 years ago

    Shared this on our Facebook page… Our patients are always looking for ways to exercise without having to work real hard! 🙂


    • Kristin Coppens Kristin Coppens 3 years ago


      Thank you so much for sharing! Laughter is a fantastic supplement to any workout, and every day! 🙂

      Kristin Coppens