Updated: Oct 9, 2018
Laughter is infectious. It breaks tension, enhances connection, and makes everyone feel good! Laughter is said to be the 'best medicine' and is something many of us need more of in our daily life for greater health and well being. Laughter and joy are free antidotes to stress, lack of social connection, illness, and fatigue. More and more health experts are highlighting the importance of social connection and interaction, as a key component of healing chronic conditions and achieving ultimate health.
Advances in technology have created a dominance of online and remote (non face to face) communication and interaction. Given that most of us have the more profound laughter experiences from face to face interactions, it makes sense to conclude that we laugh less due to the reduction of social interaction. Couple this with modern stress and hectic daily lives, and we have a recipe for a life that requires more joy and laughter.
'In adults, laughter occurs about 35 times an hour - 4 times as often as what was observed in children - during conversations with either friends or strangers.' When was the last time you laughed so hard your legs turned to jelly, your jaw or stomach muscles ached, and maybe you even had tears running from your eyes?
A day without laughter, is a day wasted - Charlie Chaplan
The Physical Benefits of Laughter
The positive mental and emotional benefits of laughter are obvious, but have you thought about the physical benefits? When you laugh, your whole body shakes and contracts. Sometimes your stomach contracts so hard that you lose the ability to speak or stand upright! Usually the most felt areas after a good laugh are the jaw and the core muscles, which ironically are key areas where people hold stress in their body.
When you laugh in this deep and hearty way, your core muscles are contracting hard and subconsciously to create a fantastic pump through your visceral organs. The muscles and connective tissue get loaded, the digestive system and lymphatic system get some much needed pumping.
After a good laugh, you feel relaxed! Stuck muscular tension is decreased post contraction, mental and emotional stress is lowered and there is a pleasant sense of calm. Even fake laughter has been shown to improve heart health and provide similar effects to exercise by raising heart rate and improving heart rate variability.
Laughter therapy, has been shown to have a positive effect on the immune system.
There is abundant research on the benefits of laughing, but we don't need science to tell us how good laughing is for us, we intuitively know and feel the benefits for ourselves.
Laugh More With Fitness Based Games
Laughter and fitness may seen unconventional, but we are certain it’s a highly effective and enjoyable way to get positive change. We were introduced to this concept by Ian O'dwyer and have integrated it into to our business ever since, and have witnessed wonderful changes in ourselves, and our members. Adding a simple game as a warm up or challenge for our members has shown powerful benefits.
We use games when mental stress is high, when mood is low, or because games based movement might be the most appealing form of exercise for someone who dislikes traditional training. In a class situation it unites the group, breaks the ice and invokes a powerful connection between people of different levels who may not even know each others names. We love games so much that we have a designated 'play' class on the timetable, have fun play based fundraisers for depression, and have weekly play sessions with like minded coaches.
Many members are surprised at just how intense fitness based games can become, sending heart rates skyrocketing. There are many types of fitness based games that can enhance laughter and joy in your training. Ball games, tag based games, agility drills, reaction drills, mirror drills (see below), sports based drills, balloon games and more. As with all things in life, fitness games may not appeal to everyone, so it's important to select appropriate drills for clients. Some people end up laughing so hard with fitness games, that they can no longer perform the drill and fall to the floor with laughter!
Tips to Laugh More
Fake It till you make it - fake laughing has been shown to induce positive health benefits. This has the added bonus that once you start laughing, it's harder to stop, particularly if it's in a social situation.
Find a trainer who includes fitness games. If you need help finding one, contact us as we know laughing legends all around Australia who share our training beliefs.
Find a local laughing Yoga club that runs sessions to teach you how to invoke therapeutic laughter even if you don't feel like it!
Put yourself into more social situations so you can experience more laughs per hour.
Play with your children or dogs - these guys are experts in play!
Grab a balloon or a ball and tap it around by yourself or with a partner. Let your mind get creative with rules and create
Watch some of our videos online for drills to play!
Here is a quick little drill you can play anytime with a partner. Good old fashioned copy cat! Get one person to lead, the other person has to copy and let the laughs flow!