It turns out there’s a lot of truth to the old adage, laughter is the best medicine. And when it comes to heart health, those words are particularly true, according to Dr. Kim Eagle, director of the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center. He likens the benefits of laughter to running in place: “It boosts endorphin levels, quickens the pulse rate, stimulates blood circulation, activates muscles and increases oxygen intake.”
Laughter even made the American Heart Association’s list of top 10 ways to keep your heart healthy. And studies also show that a good attitude and a sense of humor reduce stress, lower depression and help your body and mind to heal.
Laughter is a good thing, both physically and emotionally, says Dr. Eagle. “Heart disease patients who are depressed often have worse outcomes because they tend to not follow up with their doctors, skip taking their medications and don’t exercise — three very critical aspects of heart disease recovery.”
Many patients facing major cardiovascular disease are able to step back from their situation and find humor, says Dr. Eagle. “People who can laugh are generally happy and more positive — and are able to deal with their disease in a positive way.” And, people who laugh often have better physical outcomes, he adds.
The University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is the top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit the Heart and Vascular page on UofMHealth.org.