Think about the last time you had a really good laugh. A tears-flowing, belly-aching, almost-pee your pants laugh. Remember how you felt after that laugh?
It should be no surprise then that a recent study found that exercise programs that included laughter as a core element benefited older adults. The study found “significant improvements among participants in aerobic endurance, mental health and motivation to participate in exercise based on assessments completed by the participants.” In other words, not only does laughter itself help decrease stress and anxiety, the study found that people who participated in a program that included “simulated laugher” felt more motivated to participate in other exercise programs and activities, thereby reaping even more health benefits.
Here is a link to the full study published in the Gerontologist: https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article/57/6/1051/2632022
Below is another link to a story about the study published in Forbes magazine. It includes video of a class using voluntary simulated laughter. The “forced” laughter may seem awkward at first, but if you listen you’ll hear that forced laughter become genuine giggling: