Is laughter really the best medicine?

Kristin Coppens

| 2 min read

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

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