Laughing of any kind is good for heart health, experts say

Laughing of any kind is good for heart health, experts say

If you’re lucky, you get to be a fifth-grader at Lincoln Elementary School. Students walking into class knew their day would be broken up with some well-deserved laughs Tuesday.

One by one, students turned into comedians, standing in front of the class to tell their favorite joke. It was all in the name of good health.

“You’ve got to learn to love learning, and laughter is part of learning,” Principal Deborah Hoffman said.

Lincoln Elementary is partnered with Dean-St. Mary’s. As a part of that collaboration, every teacher in the school has a Time For Kids calendar. This week’s tip is all about laughter and the health benefits of getting a good chuckle.

Dr. Megan Jensen, family medicine doctor at Dean Clinic-Sun Prairie, said along with exercise, laughter can be effective in helping your heart.

“It can help by releasing endorphins, which we talked about makes you feel good, but it also helps to decrease some of the stress hormones in your body which keeps your heart healthy,” Jensen said. “It also improves blood flow so that people are getting blood flow to their organs and keeping healthy.”

Jensen said there’s no clear evidence of how much laughter is optimal, and no studies prove it has to be a deep belly laugh to be beneficial.

“Any type of laughter that’s going to be boosting your mood and releasing those endorphins is going to be helpful,” Jensen said.

“I don’t know if we all take time to laugh enough,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman hopes students will bring the lesson in laughter home with them, along with the other wellness information they’re taking away from class.

“I think the parents probably need more of a reminder than the students do,” Hoffman said.

If you would like your own copy of the Time For Kids calendar, go to the Time For Kids website for a downloadable PDF.