May 9, 2018

Laugh Your Way to Lower Blood Pressure

What brings you joy? Maybe it’s hearing birds chirp on a walk or a coffee break with friends. You have so much to be joyful for! But sometimes the stresses and changes that come with aging can impact your or your loved one’s happiness. Studies show that laughter has positive impacts on both your mood and health. Check out these reasons why and then find something you can laugh about today!

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Ask yourself this question: Do we stop laughing because we get old, or do we get old because we stop laughing? Laughing has an amazing impact on our bodies’ health. The bigger the belly laughs the better.

Laughing actually increases blood circulation, delivers oxygen and nutrients efficiently and helps the immune system. It also fights stress and allows the muscles to relax. Wow!  All that from a simple guffaw?

Stress is a principal contributor to high blood pressure and laughter is an excellent antidote for stress. Aside from simply altering our mood for a moment and making you feel better, laughter also reduces four stress-related hormones: epinephrine, dopac, growth hormone and cortisol. Reducing these hormones reduces the amount of oxidation in the blood vessels which means less plaque.

In addition, laughter relaxes muscles. Those muscles not actually involved in the physical act of the laugh relax. The ones doing the laughing relax immediately after the laugh. Relaxed muscles make for less strain on the blood vessels which reduces pressure.

A good laugh can also be internalized and relived. How many times have you thought back to a joke or humorous situation and chuckled to yourself? Each time you do, your body is responding positively.

Two organs benefit the most from laughter: the heart and the lungs. A good belly laugh is like an aerobic exercise for your heart. It’s not the same as 30 minutes of walking, but for people who may not be able to exercise it’s a decent substitute. The lungs expel more air than they take in during a good laugh and this acts as a cleansing breathe. When the laughter is over, you will breathe deeper and send oxygen-enriched blood to the body.

Did you know that people who laugh regularly have a lower standing blood pressure than those who don’t? Like exercise, the blood pressure goes up during laughter but drops significantly after laughing.

Okay, laughter by itself is not going to replace a good diet and regular exercise, but it can go a long way in improving your point of view and reducing stress. And that’s not something to laugh about!

Written by Rachel Wilson for http://www.seniorslist.com