Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Laughter is Good for the Heart

Researchers have been studying laughter for years to determine whether it can result in real physiological changes in the body. Often when you laugh your facial muscles contract, your heart rate increases, and you become incorporated in a social activity to which people have been benefiting for years. Studies in the past years have been difficult to conduct due to small sample sizes. For example, it is difficult to discern the differences in physiological responses from laughing vs. screaming. But it is certain that laughing regularly does show increases in:

  • Blood flow
  • Immune Response
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Relaxation and sleep

In a study from the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, researchers found that people who had heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh in different situation than counterparts of the same age sample without heart disease. While it is still difficult to determine wither or not laughter can truly reduce your risk of heart disease, many studies are starting to provide similar results.

With all the new research and ideas on this topic the question still arises - How do I incorporate this into my life? The best way to use this information is to take time to enjoy various situations combined with lifestyle changes such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and eat fresh healthy foods. Tune in next Wednesday for more insights into the world of health and fitness. Next Week: 9 ways to keep cold and flu symptoms at bay

Guest Blogger - William R. Milhizer PT, DPT

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