Does Laughter Trump Exercise?
OK, so maybe you can't get chiseled pecs and washboard abs from a good laugh but recent findings indicate that laughter may boost one's appetite in the same way a workout does.
Lee Berk, DrPH, MPH, a longtime researcher on the benefits of laughter, has found that laughing not only enhances a positive mood, but lowers stress hormones, increases immune activity, and lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, similar to moderate exercise.
Check out this recent interview with Dr. Berk on why laughter just might be medicinal.
Dr. Berk, director of the molecular research laboratory at Loma Linda University in California, conducted a study in which a small pool of volunteers was shown a series of both humorous and upsetting videos. Immediately before and after each video, the participants gave blood samples and had their blood pressure measured.
Testing showed that the humorous videos changed blood pressure, hormone levels, and endorphins in the same way moderate exercise does.
Dr. Berk's hope is that his research may help elderly people who have lost their appetite due to depression, illness, or lack of physical activity.
What do you think of these findings? Would it be useful to incorporate laughter into your PT sessions?