A new study from Georgia State University showed older adults were mentally healthier and more inclined to seek out exercise and find it enjoyable after participating in a program that involved laughing during physical activity.
The study's program, called LaughActive, was developed by the reasearchers to make sure everyone could laugh during exercise, regardless of their cognitive health or whether they actually saw humor in the situation. They used self-induced laughter that was physically simulated but then became genuine as people began making eye contact and playing with each other more as a result.
LaughActive uses a combination of traditional physical exercises interspersed with laughing breaks. It seems, from this initial study, to be effective for senior adults, who showed "significant improvements in mental health and aerobic endurance" during the program. Additionally, after the program ended, "laughter boosted the motivation to take part in other exercise programs or activities for 88.9 percent of participants" according to researchers.