Laugh Your Way to Health & Happiness

A recent study conducted by the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine reported that laughter not only enhances your mood, but it may also protect your heart. During the study, 20 healthy participants were shown 2 movies: a funny comedy and a war saga. After viewing the war (stress-inducing) film, participants' blood vessels constricted and blood flow was reduced in 14 of the 20 participants. When viewing the comedy, 19 of the 20 participants experienced improved circulation and blood flow. The researchers explained that the increased blood flow was similar to the benefits experienced with exercise.

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So what does it for you—I Love Lucy reruns, Popeye cartoons, or your favorite comedy club? Although neither these researchers (nor SparkPeople) would encourage you to trade your exercise routine for TV, a daily dose of belly shaking, gut-busting laughter is always permitted—and now recommended!