- I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Laughter is the Best Medicine for Your Health
Did you know that laughter is one of the best things you can do for your health. Aside from eating well, daily exercise, and a positive mental outlook, laughter can be just another way to keep yourself happy and healthy.
In a study by the University of Maryland Medical Center, evidence showed that people who laugh and have a good sense of humor suffered less heart disease and heart attacks. It also showed that people who had had a heart attack seemed to have less of a sense of humor, and did not laugh much at all.
It might just be that people who laugh more, take things less seriously, therefore do not stress as much as people who see life in a more serious manner. Laughter lightens your load, and relieves stress and worry. We have to be able to laugh at things, or they will become more of a burden to us than they need to be.
When we laugh we are actually getting more oxygen to our cells. Our pulse and blood pressure go up, making laughter similar to a mini workout. In a good belly laugh, you know the kind where you just can't stop, our abdominal muscles get a good work out too.
A pioneer of laughter research, William Frye, claimed that it took him ten minutes on a rowing machine to get his heart rate up to where only one minute of laughter would take it.
Laughter also helps support our immune systems. Reducing stress with laughter allows our immune system to function better. Studies have also shown that laughter promotes better blood flow, better sleep, and can even help diabetics have better blood sugar levels.
Laughter is the best medicine! If we can laugh at most of our trials and tribulations in life, we will be better off. I know that there is nothing better than a good belly laugh with friends. I have also learned in an intimate relationship, laughter and humor must be a strong point of that relationship, otherwise it will not stand the test of time. Once all the initial romance begins to fade, laughter is what helps keep a relationship strong and healthy.
Norman Cousins, a former editor of the Saturday Review, believed that humor therapy helped to heal him from a debilitating disease that degenerated his connective tissue. He did not like the side effects of the drugs that he had to take, so he decided to use humor therapy instead.
Mr. Cousins checked out of his hospital where he was receiving medical treatment and checked into a hotel where he watched funny movies and read humorous books. Over time he experienced a gradual withdrawal of his symptoms, and regained most of his loss of movement. He wrote a book called "Anatomy of an Illness" in which he claims to have healed himself by laughter.
It all comes down to attitude in many ways. Laughter represents lightness, being less serious, and being able to find humor in most things. People who laugh more are people who stress less. That is a good combination for being a healthier person.
So remember to laugh everyday. Find a reason to have one of those good belly laughs where your cheeks begin to cramp up, and your sides start to hurt! Giggle your life away and you will be healthier for it, not to mention happier!