Saturday, March 22, 2008

A different kind of workout

I've always thought that a good belly laugh had to burn some calories. Turns out, it does! And laughing has other health benefits, as well. Here are a couple of snippets of information I found about laughter and your health, as well as a few Easter-y cartoons to jump-start your Laugh-Workout!

"At the European Congress on Obesity in Athens last week, VUMC’s Maciej Buchowski, Ph.D., reported weighty findings from a study he completed last year on how laughing — no joke — burns calories. . .
"This is a trivial study," Buchowski said later, about all the attention. As director of Bionutrition, he has certainly conducted scientific studies with more serious implications. But people take this news to heart. "People just understood this, it's something that they relate to themselves."
Seriously though, Buchowski found that laughing raises energy expenditure and increases heart rate 10 percent to 20 percent. Ten to 15 minutes of laughter could increase energy expenditure by 10 to 40 calories per day, which could translate into about four pounds a year.
"People can't eat at McDonald's and then expect to laugh away their lunch," Buchowski said. You'd have to laugh for 15 minutes to burn off two Hershey's Kisses and it would take an hour of chortles to burn one chocolate bar. But, he said, the important thing is that "every calorie counts" and every activity could help people lose weight. And, scientifically, this is one more step toward understanding how the body manages energy and burns fat."
- from the Vanderbilt Med Center Reporter

"Laughter activates the chemistry of the will to live and increases our capacity to fight disease. Laughing relaxes the body and reduces problems associated with high blood pressure, strokes, arthritis, and ulcers. Some research suggests that laughter may also reduce the risk of heart disease. Historically, research has shown that distressing emotions (depression, anger, anxiety, and stress) are all related to heart disease. A study done at the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that a good sense of humor and the ability to laugh at stressful situations helps mitigate the damaging physical effects of distressing emotions." - from

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