Go Ahead, Laugh Your Head Off, It’s Good for You

Could laughing more save you a few trips to the gym? Maybe, if we take to heart the findings of Silvia Cardoso, behavioral biologist at State University of Campinas, Brazil, and researcher on laughter. In her interview with British weekly New Scientist, she shares:

“It’s [laughter] undoubtedly the best medicine. For one thing, it’s exercise. It activates the cardiovascular system, so heart rate and blood pressure increase, then the arteries dilate, causing blood pressure to fall again. Repeated short, strong contractions of the chest muscles, diaphragm and abdomen increase blood flow into our internal organs, and forced respiration–the ha! ha!–makes sure that this blood is well oxygenated. Muscle tension decreases, and indeed we may temporarily lose control of our limbs, as in the expression “weak with laughter”. It may also release brain endorphins, reducing sensitivity to pain and boosting endurance and pleasurable sensations. Some studies suggest that laughter affects the immune system by reducing the production of hormones associated with stress, and that when you laugh the immune system produces more T-cells.”