You can usually tell if you've had a great day based on how much you laughed. A deep stomach-aching, cheeks-hurting, can't-breathe-and-tears-streaming-down-your-face laugh is one of the best feelings in the world and helps not only your mood, but also your health! Researchers have discovered that laughter has similar effects to exercise; both activities require you to stretch muscles throughout your face and body, your pulse and blood pressure rises during both exercising and laughing, and you breathe faster, which sends more oxygen to your tissues. Dr. William Fry even discovered that 10 minutes on a rowing machine can raise your heart rate to the same level as one minute of hearty laughter! Check out a few more reasons why you should add laughter to your exercise regimen.
>> Read more: Workouts Around the World: Laughter Yoga
Lowers blood pressure: For those who suffer from high blood pressure, get out the funny pages from your local newspaper. Even those who don't have a high blood pressure can decrease their risk of strokes and heart attacks!
Reduces stress hormone levels: Have you ever noticed that having a quick laugh with a friend can help you feel less stressed out? Laughing helps to lower your stress hormone levels, which cuts down on how much anxiety and stress is effecting your body. It can even make your immune system work better and faster!
>> Read more: Healthy Ways to Beat Anxiety
It's a fun ab workout: You can get a nice little workout in by going to a comedy club or even having a fun game night with friends. Laughing works the same muscles in your stomach as your ab workouts do! It expands and contracts those ab muscles while giving your other muscles a little relaxation time.
Improves cardiac health: Laughing helps to get your blood pumping and can get you a great cardio workout. Maybe you've been ill or injured yourself? Go watch reruns of your favorite comedy sitcoms for an alternative workout that can even burn calories! A good laugh can burn about the same amount of calories per hour as you would if you were to walk at a slow pace.
Boosts T cells: Your T cells are specialized immune cells just waiting in your body, ready for you to activate them at any moment. Laughter is just one of those things that can activate your T cells. Once they're activated, your T cells divide rapidly and start to help your immune system fight off any sickness. Be sure to have a few funny YouTube videos ready whenever you feel a cold coming on!
>> Read more: 8 Natural Ways to Fight Off Cold and Flu Bugs
Triggers release of endorphins: Endorphins are your body's natural pain killers, and you can release them by having a laugh or two. They can help to ease chronic pain and can help your body to feel better all over.
Produces general sense of well being: Doctors have figured out that people who have a more positive outlook on life tend to fight colds and diseases better than those who have a negative outlook. You can increase your own outlook on life by adding a bit of laughter to it. You'll be surprised when you start to feel more positive and have an increased sense of overall wellbeing! So, be sure to crack a smile every once in a while and try to laugh once a day; doctor's orders!
Sources: WebMD and Gaiam Life