Seniors, Mental Health, & Exercise Through Laughter
Recent medical studies have shown that laughter can be very effective in keeping older people healthy, fit, and active. The laughter actually helped to increase the endurance of seniors as well as their confidence in their own ability to exercise. These seniors participated in a program called LaughActive. The LaughActive program incorporated laughter into a variety of cardio exercises, strength training routines, and mobility and stability exercises too.
At first the laughter was obviously forced, as it is part of the program. However the exercising combined with the laughter actually made seniors increase their eye contact with others and made them have a more playful and happy-go-lucky nature. Eventually the laughter turned from forced smiling into genuine laughter that came from truly having fun while exercising.
It is really interesting to note that the human brain cannot tell the difference between real genuine laughter and forced laughter, which is great because laughter seemingly has various health benefits. Anyway, all of the participants participated in roughly 10 laughter exercises per day. These laughter exercises were done after a set of 2 or 3 strength training exercises. The laughter exercises also count as strength training exercises for seniors because laughing involves the contracting of muscles. Laughter actually helps to relax muscles as well as to strengthen them.
This study had some very positive results and they definitely pointed in the right directions in terms of adults and seniors. Some of the best parts about this type of laughter exercise is that seniors had higher expectations in terms of the expected results they would get from exercising. The seniors also experienced higher endurance, and the best part being that the seniors also had largely improved mental health. Close to 100 percent of the participants said that laughter was a great addition to their workout routine. Moreover, close to 90 percent of participants said that exercise became more accessible with laughter, plus it was also easier to find motivation to start exercising too.
That laughter gives seniors motivation is one of the biggest benefits of this exercise and laughter combination. The problem with many adults and seniors is that they simply lack the motivation to work out on a daily basis. That is a really big issue because medical studies show that adults should have at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day, 5 days per week. This is why the laughter exercise program is so crucial, because it actually motivates people to work out.
Exercising in old age is especially important because it can help prevent a large number of health conditions. There are many chronic conditions that can be prevented or at least reduced in severity, all from some simple exercising. These conditions include coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, colon cancer, and anxiety and depression. Regular exercise for seniors can also help increase balance, thus reducing the risk of falling and getting injured.
All of those health benefits are some really big reasons as to why working out on the daily is very important. Of course a good way to get seniors motivated to workout is by having them laugh the whole time. This laughter combined with exercising is shown to increase both the physical and psychological health of seniors. Something that needs to be noted is that there is still further research required to determine if the amount of laughter as well as the intensity of laughter has a corresponding effect on the level of motivation that seniors experience. However the evidence is clear, laughter motivates and it helps seniors to work out on a regular basis.