Laughter-based Exercise Program For Older Adults Has Health Benefits, Georgia State Researchers Find
In this study, older adults residing in four assisted-living facilities participated in a moderate-intensity group exercise program called LaughActive that incorporates playful simulated laughter into a strength, balance and flexibility workout. In simulated laughter exercises, participants initially choose to laugh and go through the motions of laughing. The exercises facilitate eye contact and playful behaviors with other participants, which generally transition the laughter from simulated to genuine.
Simulated laughter techniques are based on knowledge that the body cannot distinguish between genuine laughter that might result from humor and laughter that is self-initiated as bodily exercise. Both forms of laughter elicit health benefits, researchers said.
For six weeks, study participants attended two 45-minute physical activity sessions per week that included eight to 10 laughter exercises lasting 30 to 60 seconds each. A laughter exercise was typically incorporated into the workout routine after every two to four strength, balance and flexibility exercises. Because laughter is scientifically demonstrated to strengthen and relax muscles, the laughter exercises often involved physicality in the muscles being worked in strength, balance and flexibility exercises to prepare the body for exercise and help it recover.
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