How many times do you think you need to laugh to equal the calories burned in 10 minutes of exercise?
A. 20 times?
B. 50 times?
C. 78 times?
D. 100 times?
Well we better start laughing right now as the answer is D. 100 times! (http://www.statisticbrain.com)
Do you know how many times you laugh on an average day? The adult average is around 17 times per day (http://www.aath.org) (Apparently, it’s a myth that young children laugh 300 times a day but they probably do laugh more than most of us encumbered adults).
So, by my dodgy maths reckoning, that means at best it would currently take on average more than 5 days’ worth of laughter to equal 10 minutes of exercise, but as I look out my window at the pouring rain, a good laugh might be more in order than a walk on the beach right now.
Psychologically and physiologically, research has shown that laughter reduces our levels of stress hormones; increases health-enhancing hormones and infection-fighting antibodies; and improves blood flow to the heart. This means we can relax, resist diseases and improve our mood and outlook. We laugh more when interacting with others than on our own too, so another good excuse to get together with friends and colleagues and have a good laugh.
And if we laugh enough we won’t need to go to the gym quite so much, or go out running or walking on a soggy blustery day, but we’ll still burn off the calories and use our muscles. You know that feeling when you’ve laughed so much your stomach muscles hurt? Just as good as a Pilates class!
Knowing all this, it seems mad not to actively and consciously laugh more every day. So why not join me and give it a go? To get your laughter quota up, you could watch some daft comedies, read a humorous book, tell a joke or a funny story to your friends or colleagues – whatever makes you laugh out loud.
To set ourselves up to succeed, start with an assumption of how many times you laugh now (or measure it if you’re really keen) and add a small increase every day. Set yourself a longer-term goal too of how many times you want to be laughing a day within say a month and go for it. What have you got to lose? Let’s enjoy the satisfaction of laughing our arses off – literally!
Here’s something to (maybe) get you started, I made it up so it’s pretty bad….