Can laughter help you live longer?

“When I was a boy the Dead Sea was only sick,” George Burns, 100

“I’m at an age when my back goes out more than I do,” Phyllis Diller, 95

“I’m so old they’ve canceled my blood type,” Bob Hope, 100

Growing old is no joke but that doesn’t mean you can’t laugh while you’re doing it. And if the comedians above are any indication, it just might help you live longer.

We recently shared details of a study that linked optimism to longevity and the results were something to smile about. And while keeping a positive outlook may seem like a stretch some days, a good hearty belly laugh could give you some of the same benefits and even increase how much you enjoy that extra time.

Here’s a closer look at how laughter improves your health and longevity.

Numerous studies have proven laughter deserves a prominent spot on your priority list. It decreases stress hormones, improves blood flow and strengthens your immune system. And that’s just for starters.

  • 10 – 15 minutes of laughter burns about 40 calories.
  • Your muscles stay relaxed for up to 45 minutes after a good laugh.
  • Your blood pressure can drop as much as 5 – 7 points following extended laughter.
  • Agitation levels can drop as much as 20 percent with regular humor therapy

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Find a doctor

The specialists at Providence can help keep health issues from disrupting your life’s laugh track. You can find a Providence geriatric specialist using our provider directory.  Or you can search for a primary care doctor in your area.

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Regional resources

California: Senior Care

Oregon: Optimal Aging

Texas: Senior Care

Washington: Senior Care

Related articles

Four life hacks for improved heart health

Five reasons you should laugh more

Amazing ways laughter improves your heart health

Vanderbilt Study—No joke: Study finds laughing can burn calories

Humor and Laughter May Influence Health: III. Laughter and Health Outcomes

The Laughter Prescription—A Tool for Lifestyle Medicine

American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2011

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

From how to identify and treat heart diseases to exercise tips to maintain an active lifestyle, the Providence Senior's Health team is committed to providing real-world advice that is hyper-relevant to helping those 65+ find ways stay young at heart

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