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Laughter Boosts Seniors' Motivation to Exercise

20/09/2016

Laughter Boosts Seniors' Motivation to ExerciseResearchers have found that laughter may really be the best medicine when it comes to a person's health in later life. And, according to the study led by Georgia State University, when laughter is combined with moderate exercise, not only is the mental health of older individuals improved, but also their motivation to undertake physical activity.

Prior to their research, lead author Celeste Greene, from Georgia State, and colleagues noted that many seniors are reluctant to carry out physical activity because they lack motivation due mainly to the fact they don't find exercise enjoyable.

That's why Greene's team set out to investigate whether combining laughter with physical activity would increase the amount of enjoyment older people get while exercising, thus increasing the likelihood of them doing more and reaping the associated health benefits.

For older people, regular physical activity can improve heart health; reduce the risk of diabetes; aid weight control; improve bone health; and maintain and boost muscle strength.

Greene and her team created LaughActive, a unique laughter-based exercise programme, which combines moderate-intensity physical activity with simulated laughter techniques.

The research team enrolled 27 older adults in the LaughActive programme, who were all required to attend two 45-minute sessions every week for a period of 6 weeks. What they found at the end of the 6-week programme was that 96.2% of participants said that laughter was an enjoyable addition to physical activity and boosted their motivation to take part.

In addition, the programme was associated with significant improvements in the mental health and aerobic endurance of the participants.
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