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How to Have Amazing Laughter Exercises That Empower The Elderly

How to Have Amazing Laughter Exercises That Empower The Elderly

Tips About Yoga Laughter Exercises
Yoga Laughter Exercise

Yes, Columbo

Tips About Yoga Laughter Exercises
Columbo is Thinking

 

Why Would They?

Tips About Yoga Laughter Exercises
Columbo Has it Figured

You got it. Here ’s The Deal:

Laughter Yoga For Seniors is an Example of How to Have Amazing laughter  Exercise to Empower Elderly

Developed by Madan Kataria, MD, a physician based in Bombay, India, laughter yoga is a fun new way to help participants destress while getting a workout. The whole concept of group laughter  exercise, according Kataria, is based on yogic breathing methods designed to produce unique physiological balances by connecting mind, body and spirit. [1] Dr. Kataria is also creator  of the Laughter Club—where, you guessed it, people engage in big laughs while exercising—funky chicken or hokey pokey anyone?

Tips on Yoga Laughter Exercises
Woman laughing

Seniors who have improved their  mental health, aerobic endurance, and confidence  in their ability to exercise do  3 things well:

First, they know how to stick to exercises.

Maintaining the motivation to adhere to regular physical activity is a challenge for many older adults.

Second, they know how to elevate their mood. “Laughter Yoga can change your mood within minutes by releasing endorphins. This makes you feel good and keeps you cheerful throughout the day.” [1]

Third, they have learned to expand their   comic vision, which  is the ability to perceive the humor around us. “Maintaining a comic vision retains a sense of control and keeps us from being overwhelmed by stressful events.” [2]

The rest of the post will expand on these ideas to show how  to have amazing laughter exercises that empower the elderly

But Here’s The Kicker:

Despite the health benefits of physical activity and the risks of physical inactivity, many adults don’t engage in sufficient physical activity to achieve health benefits.

As a friend of mine, a retired Rehab nurse points out, “I am one to also encourage the elderly to exercise. However, sometimes no matter what you do or say, some just will not do it. I do not stop promoting it though! I fully believe in how exercise can help the elderly.”  She goes to explain that she has “seen firsthand how exercise promotes independency especially after a trauma, stroke, joint replacement or brain injury. It is amazing.”

Here is The level of Exercise The Elderly Need to Keep Healthy

Adults should participate in a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week to achieve desirable health outcomes, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines. [3]

Here is The Bottom Line About The Type of Exercise Program The Elderly Will Stick to

Physical Activities programs that elicit positive emotions through simulated laughter have the potential to improve health, physical performance, and self-efficacy for PA among older adults and may positively influence participant adherence.

This is how it works:

The pleasant associations with laughter may add enjoyment to an  exercise program and keep older adults motivated to work out, the researchers noted, in the paper published in the journal The Gerontologist. [4]

Tips on Yoga Laughter Exercises
Curious Columbo

That’s not a problem, Columbo. Here is the scoop:

For six weeks, the participants in the study attended two 45-minute physical activity sessions per week that included eight to 10 laughter  exercise lasting 30 to 60 seconds each.

The result is that the participants  had a good time and finished the program.

Act As Though Things Really Are Funny is a way for Seniors to elevate their  moods.

Think about this:

The older we get, the more responsibilities we take on, the more stressful life becomes and the less we seem to laugh. Things we once thought were funny just aren’t anymore. Maden Kataria  puts it this way: “.. even pretending to be amused can brighten your day.”

He tells of an actress who played a very sad role for 10 years and started having different physical ailments, including depression. After ruling out any physical cause, her physicians determined that her acting role was contributing to her ill health.

They recommended that she quit the part and switch to comedy. Once she did, she noticed a gradual lessening of her symptoms! This case led to the Laughter Club’s basic philosophy, which is to “act happy.” In other words, fake it. Or as Kataria advises: “Fake it ’til you make it!” [6]

Expanding Your Comic Vision—Finding Humor All Around  You

Imagine the typical reaction of an elder person who trips and almost falls. At best he or she may be embarrassed, and at worst he or she may develop a fear of falling and avoid any physical activities. This may, and sometimes does, result in social isolation. Social isolation can lead to loneliness and that can lead to such conditions as back pain.

Then again, one can see himself as a modern Dick Van Dyke and have a good  laugh. This is what we mean by comic vision. As Carrie Myers Smith,an exercise physiologist and freelance writer, points out: “ It is common knowledge among humor professionals that children laugh approximately 400 times a day. Adults? Only 15 times! When I get stressed out, I sit back and watch my young sons. Sometimes, I don’t even have to be in the same room; I just sit and listen. Kids are such natural comedians!”

Tips on Yoga Laughter Exercises
A Childish Laugh

Think about when you were a kid. Remember how your parents just shook their  heads at the darnedest thing that tickled your funny bones? For example, moving like your  favorite animal. Older people who have expanded  their comic vision have the same ability as kids to find humor in almost anything.

For more information check: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laughter_yoga

 

Conclusion

As the Rolling Stones pointed out, getting old is a drag.  Most people find very little humor in getting older. They know they should exercise but it’s easier to just say the hell with it. Yoga Laughter exercise changes a person’s perception  of physical  activities from being a burden to something fun that can be shared with friends. Know any good jokes?

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I like to hear from the readers so please leave me a comment below to let me know if this post helped you or if you have any questions.

References

1

Laugh yourself fit. (Wellness) Carrie Myers Smith IDEA Health & Fitness Source. 20.3 (Mar. 2002): p 63+

2

“Laughter-based exercise may boost health in the elderly.” IANS, Sept. 2016

3

Witkin, Stanley L. “Taking humor seriously.” Social Work, vol. 44, no. 2. 1999, p. 101+

4

“Laughter-based exercise may boost health in the elderly.” IANS, Sept. 2016

5

Ibid

6

Laugh yourself fit. (Wellness) Carrie Myers Smith IDEA Health & Fitness Source. 20.3 (Mar. 2002): p 63+

7

Ibid

14 thoughts on “How to Have Amazing Laughter Exercises That Empower The Elderly

  1. This is very interesting. I have never heard of Laughter Yoga and I’d love to study it!
    Your article here reminds me to watch more comedy! I usually work out whenever I watch anything and I think I need more funny stuff!

    1. Hi Dianne,
      I think when most people think of Yoga laughter doesn’t come to mind. So it doesn’t surprise me that you haven’t heard of it. I only become aware of this type of yoga in the last couple of months as a result of researching the latest trends in mind-body treatments for pain relief. I think we all need to watch more comedy. Laughter is good. Thanks for checking in. Have a great weekend.

      Thabo

  2. This article has been a big help for me. I take care of both my elderly parents. I was imagining them trying to do any exercise and it made me laugh. I think just getting them up and moving is the most exercise I get out of them.

    1. Hello Eden,
      I understand. Getting elderly parents to stick to an exercise program is quite challenging. I’m glad this post helped you. Thanks for checking in.

      All the best,

      Thabo

  3. Hello Thabo!

    Laughing is the best medicine, it brings people together and it’s a liberating feeling. It is sad that the laughter often is forgotten the older we get, due to all responsibilities, fears, and pains.
    The story about the actress who changed from playing a sad role to being a comedian is amazing. How fantastic that her suffering from physical pain and depression lessened after changing her acting. This is a proof of how important it is to laugh.

    From now on I’m going to concentrate on discussing happy things when talking with people who are feeling down or sad. That may improve their mood for the better.

    Thank you for another uplifting post!

    Pernilla

    1. Hello Pernilla,

      I was also amazed at the story of the actress whose pain and depression lessened once she switched from playing sad roles to playing comedy. I think the story speaks to the power of laughter to dramatically change someone’s life in a positive way. Thanks for checking in. Have a great weekend.

      Thabo

  4. I have recently heard of laughter yoga. I am wondering if it is coming to my fitness center. They are big on senior health. It would really be so much fun. The seniors there like to socialize and exercise and this would just fit right in with most of them. I would like to try it myself!
    I loved your story about the actress. It just goes to prove how well laughter can heal.

    1. Hi Cynthia,
      I agree with you that seniors who like to socialize and exercise would find laughter yoga a perfect solution. And I too was moved by the story of the actress who found healing through laughter. Thanks for checking in.

      Thabo

  5. I heard that a good belly laugh can help massage your stomach. I don’t know about that, but I think that one of the things that laugher does is to signal acceptance. I think that a good laugh besides having all the emotional benefits of lowering stress, also ensures that everyone is on the same page. I think it’s a lot easier for people to participate in something like group exercise when they feel emotionally connected to the group. Exercise than becomes something to look forward to. Great post. Very fun read.

    1. Hello Meredith,
      You make an excellent point about how laughter can connect a group of people in such a positive emotional way that it makes it easier for them to work together and in the process help each other. I think the key for most seniors is finding the will to stick to an exercise program. Laugher exercise makes it more likely that the elderly will stick to an exercise program because they are having fun. I’m glad you had fun reading the post.

  6. I love this presentation. Very clever the way you used the Columbo drawings to pull us into the story. I happen to be a very big fan of that show. I assume you’re too. Anyway, I heard that laughter can help seniors with their bowel movement. Yeah, I had a laugh when I heard that one. But seriously–yeah I just said that—-laughter can help the body function better by providing loads of natural pain relievers. I know that when I have a good laugh my body feels good. Great post.

    1. Hello Susan,
      Thanks for a very funny response. You get it! Yes, I am a very big fan of Columbo. The introduction was indeed inspired by my love of the show.

  7. I truly enjoyed your post on yoga for seniors and laughter, I notice at my gym the senior coming from their yoga class all have relaxe smiles on their faces. Everyone not just seniors would benefit from more laughter in their lives, I hear laughter is awesome for anxiety and stress relief. I must admit I am too serious myself most of the time, but I do take time to watch videos and read quotes online to improve my mood and give me a reason to smile.

    Great Post
    Jeff

    1. Hello Jeff,
      I completely get it.I can also be a bit on the too serious side. However, I’m really buying into the power of laughter. Laughter demonstrates the contagious nature of emotion. Hearing laughter we automatically smile or laugh too, creating a spontaneous chain reaction that sweeps through a group. I can see how this can help seniors who find it difficult to socialize. I can also see how laughter eases pain. My mom, a back pain sufferer, always seems to feel a lot better after a good laugh. She especially loves watching commercials on TV that feature kids, confirming the fact that kids are natural comedians. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. Thanks for checking in.

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