A researcher from Vanderbilt University conducted a small study measuring the amount of calories expended in laughing. They found that 10 to 15 minutes of laughter burned 50 calories! Now, before you ditch the treadmill or quit walking every day, consider that one piece of chocolate has about 50 calories. At the rate of 50 calories per hour, losing one pound would require about 12 hours of concentrated laughter! Sounds fun, but a bit impractical.

Still, even a little laughter has great effects on the body:

  • Blood flow. Researchers found that when people watched comedies their blood vessels expand and contract easily and normally. Vessels in those who watched dramas tensed up, restricting blood flow.
  • Immune response. Studies show that the ability to use humor raises the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boosts immune cells too.
  • Blood sugar levels. After eating, a group of people with diabetes sat through a boring lecture. The next day they ate the same meal and then watched a comedy. Their blood sugar levels were lower than after the tedious lecture!
  • Relaxation and sleep. Remember Norman Cousin and his memoir, Anatomy of an Illness. He was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful spine condition. Comedies like Marx Brothers films and episodes of Candid Camera not only helped him feel better, but he discovered that 10 minutes of laughter allowed him two hours of pain-free sleep.

So laugh for 10-15 minutes…and have a little chocolate.

To learn how to create wellness programs for healthier, happier, less stressed, more engaged employees, visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. Contact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.  Interested in LeAnn Thieman’s keynote speaking, training and workshops? Email lthieman@leannthieman.com.