Skip to main content

See also:

5 reasons to encourage your funny friends to workout

This is a sign that I took from my late grandmother.
This is a sign that I took from my late grandmother.
(Shamontiel L. Vaughn)

I'd decided to workout with my mother, who used to be a gym rat until she lost interest years later. We marched our way to Bally's (before L.A. Fitness purchased 171 Chicago Bally's locations) and decided to try out the fitness balls for crunches. Not even sixty seconds into the workout, my mother lost her balance and all 5'1 of her rolled off the ball, with her feet in the air. I couldn't get it together. I landed on the floor crying laughing, which made her laugh.

She refused to ever get on that fitness ball again. I vowed to try to get her to go to the health club with me as much as possible. The next hour of working out was so much easier with a funny comrade. Laughing burns 10 to 40 calories if done at least 15 minutes. I lasted almost the entire hour because I kept envisioning the scene in my head. Put the both of us in a belly dancing class, and we're even more goofy but we always leave with a full workout between the fit of giggles.

There are other reasons to bring your funny friends and family with you during a workout. Check out the photo gallery to find out why.

Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all her latest Chicago nutrition and fitness entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Diet and Exercise channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her @BlackHealthNews.

Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all her latest Chicago dating, sex, marriage and work relationship entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Relationships channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her "Let's Talk About Sex...Health" Pinterest board.

Positive attitudes may help health.
Positive attitudes may help health. (Shamontiel L. Vaughn)

Positive attitudes may help health.

A Web MD study questions whether laughter is what makes people healthier or are they healthier because of a positive attitude and a supportive social circle. But don't the last two usually mean laughter is more likely to happen?

(In this photo: This is a sign in the bathroom of a vegan Chicago restaurant called Loving Hut.)

Laughing leads to increasing your metabolism.
Laughing leads to increasing your metabolism. (Shamontiel L. Vaughn)

Laughing leads to increasing your metabolism.

Livestrong concludes that the reason laughter burns calories is because it causes your heart rate to rise 10 to 20 percent. When your heart rate rises, your metabolism increases so even when the joke is over, you may still burn calories. Need a guesstimate on how many calories you should burn daily? Click here for Web MD's metabolism calculator.

(In this photo: This is a photo in my dining room that I took from my late grandmother in elementary school. This used to be by her doorway, and I always liked the sign when I was a kid.)

Laughter can lead to losing 4 pounds.
Laughter can lead to losing 4 pounds. (Shamontiel L. Vaughn)

Laughter can lead to losing 4 pounds.

In a Vanderbilt study, it was concluded that 10 to 15 minutes of laughter could increase energy expenditure by 10 to 40 calories per day, which could translate into about four pounds a year. How much is 40 calories? A visit to the Hershey Chicago store can easily pack on 50 calories for one Hershey's nugget or 200 calories for a serving of Hershey's Kisses (serving = 9 kisses) so don't get rid of your gym membership just yet. It wouldn't hurt to visit a comedy club though.

(In this photo: This is a letter box under my bed with letters as far back as my elementary school penpals.)

Laughter can help you fight through pain.
Laughter can help you fight through pain. (Shamontiel L. Vaughn)

Laughter can help you fight through pain.

It's not a good idea to use laughter to exercise through the pain, but laughter literally can help one fight through pain, according to a recent Swiss study. Participants watching a comedy film, with their hands in ice water, were able to leave them there longer due to laughter. Those who did not laugh removed their hands quicker. Also, in the same study, smokers had the lowest tolerance for pain.

(In this photo: That sign has been sitting on my dining room table for a couple of years. I bought it at Family Dollar, and it's one of the most eye-catching pieces of home decor in my home.)

Stress relief may lead to body relief.
Stress relief may lead to body relief. (Shamontiel L. Vaughn)

Stress relief may lead to body relief.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (AADA) concludes that when stress affects the brain, the rest of the body will feel it. However, Mayo Clinic and Thomas Benz's study conflict with how genuine the effects of laughter should be. Mayo Clinic states that forcing a fake laugh through grumpiness can make you feel better. However, the Swiss study believes genuine laughter that includes the Duchenne expression (corners of the mouth pulled upward, small wrinkles at the corners of the eyes) does the trick.

(In this photo: This is a sign in the bathroom of a vegan Chicago restaurant called Loving Hut.)