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Is Laughter the Best Medicine?

Who knew that a good laugh was a lot like a moderate workout?

Well, according to psychologist and laugh therapist, Steve Wilson, MA, CSP we change our physiological state when we laugh. Our muscles stretch, the pulse and blood pressure go up, breathing increases sending more oxygen to the tissues.

Wilson says when you combine laughter and movement it boosts the heart rate. And researchers say that 10-15 minutes of laughter can burn almost 50 calories.

Other ways that laughter can be beneficial to the health of your older loved one is that it helps boost the immune system.  A healthy immune system allows for a faster recovery, while helping ward off more serious health conditions.

A good chuckle is also helpful in lowering stress, anxiety and depression by increasing the levels of dopamine and other chemicals that naturally fight these things off.  Blood pressure and cholesterol is also affected when oxygenation in the blood increases, helping circulation.

Endorphins are the body’s natural pain killers. There’s an increase whenever laughter is involved.

The practice of Laughter Yoga or “Hasyayoga” has also been known to lower anxiety, stress and blood pressure and is said to be beneficial for seniors who have problems with mobility. It involves prolonged voluntary laughter which many researchers believe provide the same effects as spontaneous laughter.

In addition to these advantages, laughter yoga is said to have positive effects in cardiovascular health and mood.

For seniors, laughter can result in improved memory, learning and alertness because endorphins and dopamine are released into the brain.  Freedom Home Care looked into some easy ways to laugh more!

Ways to Add More Laughter To Your Life

Read a joke each day.  Find a book that your like or have a joke a day emailed to you.   It’s a great way to start your day out with a laugh.

Try stand-up comedy. There are plenty of shows at the local comedy club or adult center that cater specifically to seniors. Not only an avenue to meet people, it gives you the chance to get out and have a good laugh.

Take In A Funny Movie. Many comedies nowadays appeal to people of all ages.  Make it a bonding experience by having dinner and then catching a show with family and friends.

Of course, doctors say that its more than just laughter that contributes to the overall well-being. A good sense of humor, personalized elder care, home care services and relationships with family and friends also play a part in bettering the health of seniors.

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