Tag Archives: laugh

The Joy of Laughter

Long View: Take Time to Laugh

I guess we are going to survive another Midwestern winter. They bother me more than they used to, but one of the things that helps me get through them is humor.

Once in a while, my office mate Mervet and I have a problem. One of us will start laughing, and then we both join in, unable to stop. Mervet’s eye makeup starts to run, and I can’t get my breath. We occasionally get to the point of snorting, hopefully not too loud. My grandfather used to tell us kids, “That kind of laugher just added an extra week to your life.” Who’s to say he wasn’t right?

Laughter is part of every culture, and the physical and mental benefits are widely known. I notice laughter comes so naturally, especially to our little ones. I think we have all seen babies express their delight with uncontrollable laughter. Ah, the joy of discovery.

Because the benefits of laughter are so well recognized, I guess my question becomes, why don’t we seek out more opportunities to enjoy it? Personally, I make a conscious effort to bring a little humor into my life and the lives of my loved ones. I have a few well-chosen (appropriate) jokes to tell, and I don’t mind being the clown once in a while. I would always choose to read a humorous book over something serious. I have never spent any quality time checking out a murder mystery or a horror story.

I have an upbeat and typically hilarious circle of friends. I am not sure how that came about, but I think it’s a subconscious decision on my part. To me, good-natured humor is a must. Sarcasm doesn’t appeal to me, but a little bit is OK if it’s clever and short-lived. A coworker told me I occasionally stooped to sarcasm, but I denied it and gave him a silent eye-roll as my only response.

We never outgrow our need for humor. I think all of us have been in a group and seen the infectious nature of one person’s solid belly laugh. I’ve seen it sweep through a crowd on a number of occasions. You probably have, too.

Regardless of the season, I think the best part of humor is to share it with someone else. Mervet agrees and doesn’t seem to mind reapplying her eye makeup every once in a while.

Patrick Harness is a community liaison with a long history of experience in health insurance. If you ask him to pick a color, he always chooses orange, and he is known for his inability to parallel park.

Work Up a Sweat with a Workout Buddy

Sweat Glands Work Better in Pairs

There’s something special about being part of a group. Spoken or unspoken, you rest easier knowing, “We’re in this together.”

You experience that feeling when you exercise in groups, too. Research shows those who sweat socially, like with a workout buddy, are more likely to stick with their fitness plan and see success.

In a Baylor University study, after teaching 53 female college students a specific weight-training workout, the researchers told them to do it on their own 3-days a week for 6 weeks.

Can you guess what happened? Every single one of them quit the study.

A workout buddy doesn’t guarantee success, but it makes success more likely, a review of 87 studies on 50,000 people found this link to be clea).

Still not convinced? Here are 5 more reasons to think about grabbing a friend and workout buddy before hitting the gym:

  1. Time flies. This isn’t to say your 60-minute workout will be easy, but instead of constantly watching the clock, you can catch up on each other’s lives between sets, laugh, and have fun.
  2. No more Debbie Downer. Who likes canceling plans with a friend? If your workout partner is counting on you to be there, you’ll be less likely to bail.
  3. Share a babysitter. If your gym doesn’t have a kid center, share the cost of a sitter.
  4. Keep perspective. Most of us are hard on ourselves. When you have workout buddies, they can help you see your progress and remind you of how far you’ve come.
  5. Stay on track. Not only do friends help you see how far you’ve come, they also keep you thinner. Harvard University researchers found that a person’s risk of becoming obese goes up by 2% for every 5 obese friends or family members he or she has. Yikes!

Give social sweating a try, and let us know what you think.

And if you’re looking for a gym to join, check out our Fitness Discounts section.