The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Exercise Your Sense of Humor

A woman walked up to an old man rocking in a chair on his porch. "I couldn't help noticing how happy you look," she said. "What's your secret for a long happy life?"
"I smoke three packs of cigarettes a day," he said. "I drink a case of whiskey a week, eat fatty foods, and never exercise."
"That's amazing," the woman said. "How old are you?"
"Twenty-six," he said.

There is a Buddhist saying that laughter is the language of the Gods. Like every other skill, your sense of humor needs exercise to be healthy and be strong. Exercising your sense of humor also seems to be key to keep you healthy and strong. Increasingly, medical studies show positive medicinal effects of humor and laughter. In reading them for this post, many were numbingly humorless. I looked around some local medical fitness programs and gyms where people are exercising for health, and everyone looked miserable. Then you have people like my Mom, a professional dancer. One of the classes she teaches is tap dance for senior citizens. She named one of her lively groups, "The Clogging Arteries." Another is "Tapaholics Phenomenous - We Do More Than 12 Steps." Josh Billings (pen name of humorist Henry Shaw) summed it up, "There ain't much fun in medicine, but there's a heck of a lot of medicine in fun."

Exercise your sense of humor to reduce unhealthy stress and daily troubles: Don't argue with an idiot; they'll beat you with experience. Don't stress to be punctual; there may be no one there to appreciate it. Be like Santa Claus; only visit people once a year. Reduce stress on the road by peacefully ceding way to others. Joe Louis, boxing heavyweight champion, explained why he did not hit a motorist after the motorist abused him following an accident, "Why should I? When somebody insulted Caruso, did he sing an aria for them?"

Earlier this month, the Health Observances blog from our HealthLine editors posted April is National Humor Month. Before April is over, see how you can make your life, your home, and your exercise healthier with genuine fun. For a post on helping your heart with happiness, see Healthier Heart.

"Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine." - Lord Byron

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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.