Can Laughter Lower Our Blood Pressure?

Humor has been shown to benefit our health in many ways—emotionally, physically and intellectually. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently reported on two studies that show a particular benefit: It would appear that having a good laugh can help lower our blood pressure.

In the first study, test subjects watched a comedy film while the movement of blood through their carotid arteries was measured. Researcher Jan Sugawara reported that more blood moved through the subjects’ arteries when they were watching the funny movie. Sugawara said, “Laughing is likely not the complete solution to a healthy heart, but it appears to contribute to positive effects.”
In a second study, subjects who also watched a funny movie experienced improved vascular function as evidenced by increased dilation of blood vessels—and the effect lasted for 24 hours. (Constricted blood vessels are associated with hypertension.)

The ACSM encourages all patients to talk to their healthcare provider about an overall activity program. Visit the ACSM website (www.acsm.org) to find information for providers and consumers promoting senior fitness.

© AgeWise, 2013