Laugh Yourself Slim
By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD
Being overweight can make you feel miserable, but if you want to lose those excess pounds, you’re better off trying to have a good laugh.
New research published in the International Journal of Obesity has discovered that laughter really is the best medicine for a weight problem.
The small study included 45 pairs of adult friends, who were shown either funny or serious film clips in a room that was set up with equipment to measure the amount of calories burnt and to monitor the rate, duration and type of laughter. The participants also wore heart monitors to measure their heart rate.
The researchers discovered that laughing increased both heart rate and calorie expenditure by up to 20 per cent – and the longer participants laughed for the greater the effects.
Using the results, the scientists then went on to calculate that just 15 minutes of laughter a day will burn 10 to 40 calories, depending on a person’s weight and the intensity of the laughter. That’s enough to shift between 1 and 4lb a year.
The idea that laughter benefits health has been around for many years, possibly because it reduces muscle tension, increases the amount of oxygen in the blood, exercises the heart and produces happy chemicals in the brain called endorphins. It certainly makes sense that laughing would burn more calories too, as a result of the extra movement and increase in heart rate linked with laughing.
You don’t burn heaps of extra calories but as any slimmer knows, it’s little changes that make big differences. Plus, having a laugh usually makes most of us feel more positive about life – and ultimately, this can help us feel better about ourselves and make us more motivated to lose those excess pounds.
If nothing else, adding laughing to your list of weight loss tips gives you the perfect excuse for watching your favourite comedy or having a few more night’s out with friends!