It’s long been suggested that laughter is the best medicine, and now it seems the old adage is actually true. According to scientists, a good fit of the giggles burns as many calories as a brisk walk – that’s up to 120 per hour. Don’t feel you have to walk around laughing like a loon though, as even just some low-key chuckling can burn around 20 calories an hour.
If that’s not enough to encourage you to get your jolly on how about this – laughing also works out the internal obliques, the group of stomach muscles which are essential for the much-coveted six pack. In fact, a good giggle has been found to activate them even more than a set of stomach crunches.
If you want to get the most out of your mirth, you need to find something really funny. Only an intense form of uncontrollable laughter will burn 120 calories an hour, dubbed the sort which makes you roll on the floor unable to breathe. Hearty laughs can cut around 100 calories an hour – which is nothing to be sniffed at.
On top of all this, giggling improves blood flow in the body which means it’s a bit like having a cardiovascular workout.
The findings come courtesy of comedian Dr Helen Pilcher, who has a phD in biology. She was enlisted to complete a survey by comedy TV channel Dave, and she’s suggested that watching funny programs of an evening could improve your overall health.
“This report raises the joyous possibility that watching comedy shows can help you to shape your six pack by targeting internal oblique muscles more effectively than sit-ups,” she explained.
“I definitely felt more toned after watching hours of TV comedies.”
Helen was quick to add that it’s important to be careful about your other habits too – so you’ll only see the benefits of laughing “provided you don’t eat any pies while you watch” the hilarious shows.