Want to get in shape while having fun? Familiarize yourself with the international laughter movement that runs “laughter yoga” classes.
1. What is laughter yoga?
Laughter yoga gives you a chance to get together with other people and just laugh.
- It’s an excellent aerobic workout that combines the physiological benefits of laughter with yogic breathing, which brings more oxygen to the body and brain.
- Laughter produces endorphins, making you feel good, reducing tension and relaxing your body.
2. How does it work?
- When you’re laughing, just like when you exercise, your blood pressure and heart rate rise slightly — but in the long term, regular laughter reduces blood pressure and boosts your immune system.
- Remarkable research from the University of Tsukuba in Japan has shown that laughter may even help to control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Volunteers’ blood-sugar levels were significantly lower after watching a comedy film than they were after a dry lecture.
- Laughter gives your body something of a cardiovascular workout. When you laugh, your breathing rate rises, helping to transfer oxygen around the body — and around 400 different muscles are activated in the process, including abdominal and internal muscles that aren’t involved in most exercise routines.
3. Multiple health benefits
- Simply thinking about humour has been shown to have positive health benefits.
- The anticipation of watching a favourite comedy show reduces levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and increases levels of stress-relieving endorphins, the “feel good” and pain-relieving hormones produced naturally by the body.
- The positive effects of laughter were demonstrated in a small study of people in a cardiac rehabilitation program after a heart attack.
- A group of 24 patients watched a 30-minute comedy video each day for a year and another group of 24 did not. Only two of those who watched the video had another heart attack, compared with 10 of the 24 people who didn’t.