Laughter for weight loss

You can diet.  You can work out at the gym.  You can take up martial arts.  But why bother, when laughing is such a fun way to shed those pounds?  And so little equipment required!

A burst of hearty laughter can give your body what neuroscientist Dr Helen Pilcher calls a “mini-aerobic workout”.  It makes your heart beat faster.  It makes your chest heave.  It makes your belly muscles tighten.  Facial muscles tighten (good for keeping the skin looking young). It’s a good all-round workout – a belly laugh can help shrink the belly.

There is some bad news and some good news in this.  The bad news is that you have to laugh heartily for an hour to burn off 100 calories.  The good news, is that an hour of extra laughing each day would be good for us party-pooper adults who forget to laugh throughout our day.  How can we add more laughter?

  • Sign up for some humorous email broadcasts.
  • Follow some funny people on Twitter and befriend some funny people on FaceBook.
  • Get up from your desk every now and then and drop in on the office clown, or anyone with whom you have found you can share a laugh.
  • Tickle somebody (probably best to do this one at home); it often can end in getting very playful.
  • Have kids.  Yes, they also can cause a lot of stress, but they give you someone you can repeatedly tickle.

How would you increase the laughter in your day?  Please let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Dear David,

    I have been doing improv comedy for the last 7 years or so, and I know a way to add at least 3 hours a week of hearty laughing.

    Take an improv comedy class.

    Typically, you will be surrounded by ridiculous, crazy, hilarious folk, who are cracking jokes with great speed. You will be involved in some of these jokes, but for most of them you can sit back and enjoy the ride. Also, when you take a class, typically you will be allowed to go to the theater’s comedy shows for free.

    There’s another 2 hours of laughter right there. And if you go to 2 shows a week. Boom. 7 hours a week, 1 hour a day, 700 calories a week, and 2800 calories burned in a month.


  2. I just love your blog! And not just because you’re giving tips on burning calories. 🙂
    I’ll be back!


  3. That sure is a “fun” way to lose weight 😉

  4. Hi,

    I got used to laugh daily!
    the reason is before few years back i have faced many problems in my daily life!
    so i faced tension then i decided that its not the way to move forward in the life to reach success then i found the way to get relief from tension i.e laughing makes me to get relief from tension.

    But I dnt know that we can loose calories by laughing.

    Anyway its a great article.

  5. I do not as a rule comment to a blog however I like this post therefore I was forced to do so. Going off topic a bit, what are your thoughts regarding walking? Which is currently being put forward as the best exercise to burn fat.

  6. David Leonhardt says

    @ Janardhanaya I guess it depends on what you mean by “best”. If you walk for 15 minutes or run for 15 minutes, I’ll bet you burn more fat running. Even better, if you sprint for 15 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, sprint for 15 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, and keep that up for 15 minutes, I’ll bet you burn much, much, much more fat than either walking or running.

  7. Great post again mate. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there. Losing weight doesn’t have to be hard ywet mose people fail to realize the basics

  8. What a sensational way to lose weight and bring happiness into your life at the same time. Sounds like a winning formula all round – maybe the gyms should be playing comedy on the tv rather than rap music. Thanks for your blog – love reading it.

  9. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh…. Humor helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss…. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh–or even simply a smile–can go a long way toward making you feel better….

  10. The general rate of success of these weight loss broadcasts which are forever contending with each other is more or less the identical. And the most comic part is that these programs all choke at the one hurdle in wound of making really tall demands. This passes because the body gets used to the rigorousness through which it is cast and aligns itself to the new routine and the metabolic process slows down. You have to be smarter than nature to be able to illusion the body into turning a loss weight. Without pursuing this measure then you will constantly curiosity why you cannot fall back weightiness.

  11. Laughing is good for the body and soul. Humor in your daily life will help you live longer and a more joyful life.

  12. Laughter is actually a great way for weight loss and even for improving your general well-being. Counting aside the ridiculous statistic (you have to laugh one hour straight to burn off 100 calories, really?), I think we will all be healthier if we are happier as human beings.

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