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8 Ways Laughter Can Help You Naturally Improve Your Health and Lose Weight

Lise Gagne/istockphoto
Lise Gagne/istockphoto
DCL

Laughter is a sustainable way to lose weight and get happy and the only energy it costs is your own (or your friends that are making you laugh's time and energy). But basically, laughing is good for you and low-impact on the environment.

Look at children and how their laughter explodes from their insides as they fall into uncontrollable hysterics that inevitably leads to streams of tears drenching their cheeks.

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Now look at adults who find something funny and "appropriately" give off a little giggle as they simultaneously place their hand to their mouth as if to hide their outward expression of positive emotion. What exactly morphed inside us that made us become so honestly boring? Do you even remember a time when you were literally incapable of stopping your snort-filled, tear-sopped laughter that worsened with every glance of your friend?s equally hysterical face to the point that the only way to regain composure was to physically remove yourself from the situation?

The next time you feel a serious laugh coming on, open your mouth wide and let your laughter roar! If for no other reason, let it out so you don't have to let out your pants. What I mean is—laughter is actually a calorie-burning exercise (not to mention a natural stress-reliever).

Yes, when you laugh you burn calories, boost your immune system, calm your muscles, relax your mind, reduce physical pain, and lower blood sugar levels. And unlike pills, laughter has no negative side effects.

Here's how laughter can help you naturally lose weight and be healthier

Add laughter to your workout regimen. Laughing provides a natural cardiovascular workout for your insides, increases your heart rate and circulation, and toning to your abdominal muscles. Dr. William Fry of Stanford University says, "Laughing heartily five times a day has the same beneficial effects as ten minutes on a rowing machine." What?s more? 10-15 minutes of solid laughter can burn 50 calories which can translate to 4.4 pounds in a year—hey, every little bit counts!

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Laughter can increase the release of infection-fighting antibodies while decreasing the creation of cortisol, therefore bolstering the immune system.

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A good bout of laughter has been shown to lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

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A serious chuckle has been shown to increase "good" HDL cholesterol.

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For serious pain sufferers, it has been found that 10-minutes of laughter can translate into two-hours of less aching.

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Researchers have found that individuals with a sense of humor approach problem solving in a more creative way, as well as proving more productive and more profitable in a working environment. Especially in this competitive workplace climate, it's time to up your game and put on a happy (if not hysterical) face.

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Laughing improves skin tone and appearance by absorbing more air, therefore oxygenating the cells. Just as smoking restricts oxygen to body?s tissues and causes premature aging, an increase of oxygen invigorates the skin and brightens skin tone, reversing the external signs of aging.

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Laughter can act as a muscle relaxant. The physically calming effects can also minimize stress—a relaxation response that can last for as long as 45-minutes.

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Having trouble enlivening your inner spastic? Try Laughter Yoga, also called Hayasa. The practice includes several liberating variations of laughter, including Hearty Laughter, Open-Mouthed Silent Laughter, Humming Laughter, Greeting Laughter, Swinging Laughter, and Lion Laughter. Each laughing "pose" is held for 45 seconds, followed by a series of breath work and stretching.

Another way to recapture your rapture is from joke-a-day websites where you can find a selection of jokes that fit any personality—from blonde, bar, lawyer, or animal crackers. You can also subscribe to laughter-focused online newspapers that send monthly jokes, political cartoons, news and stories sure to leave you in healing hysterics.

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Not sold on the medicinal qualities of laughter? Fine. But I can promise you one thing, laughter isn't going to hurt you, so why not? I mean honestly, how bad is it to be happy?

Got a tip or a post idea for us to write about on Planet Green? Email pgtips (at) treehugger (dot) com.

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