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Family Sports & Fitness

Fit(ness) of Laughter

April Fool’s Day marks the first day of Stress Awareness Month, 30 days dedicated to the causes and cures for modern stress. It’s important to understand the effects of stress, but even more important to find ways of ridding it from your life. Use humor and fun to escape stress – and use laughter as an exercise too!

Serious Facts
More than 80% of all medical appointments are now stress related
Every major disease affecting western civilization is directly related to stress:
•  Depression
•  Heart disease
•  High blood pressure
•  Chronic pain
•  Obesity
•  Arthritis
•  Cancer
•  Tight muscles

Kids: Your stress may be a direct reflection of your parents’ stress. Talk to them about it!
Schoolwork and extracurricular activities can be adding too much stress to your life. Remember:
•  Sports should be about fun, not just about winning!
•  Having a hard time with schoolwork? Ask for help from friends, your school counselor and tutors.

Laugh it Off!
Laughter is nature’s medicine for curing stress
Medical studies show laughter:
•  Boosts your immune system
•  Stabilizes your blood pressure
•  Massages your inner organs
•  Stimulates your circulation
•  Increases the flow of oxygen to your muscles
•  Improves your sleep patterns

Quality family fun time can lower stress for everyone, leading to:
•  Better grades
•  Self-esteem boosts
•  Better sleep
•  Improved social behavior

The Ha-Ha Workout
When you’re stressed to your limits, find time to laugh (even if you have to fake it at first).

Step One: Smile
Smiling can actually put you in a better mood and make you more likely to laugh. When you smile, others smile back, making you feel better right away!

Step Two: Laugh
Think of something you find funny and laugh out loud about it. You can do this alone if you feel funny laughing in public.
A typical laugh is at least 3 short matching sounds, so match vowels to make a small laughing noise
•  Try “ha ha ha” or “ho ho ho,” but not “ha ho ha”
•  Make 3 sounds in 1 second, then repeat
Smile as you laugh out loud
Start loud and get quieter – then flip from quiet to loud
Remember: Slow laughs are scary, not fun!

Step Three: Ab Fab Laughter
Belly laughs – especially that continue for at least a full minute – strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles. That’s no joke.
Step Four: Laugh Your Own Laugh
We all have our own way of laughing, so don’t worry about what people think of your laugh. Laugh louder and make others laugh with you!

Funny, but true: Always follow the advice of your medical professional before starting any exercise routine. If you ever experience pain or discomfort while laughing, especially if the discomfort persists after you have stopped laughing, consult your doctor immediately. Those who have recently undergone certain surgeries or those concerned that their medical condition could negatively impact their ability to laugh freely, should talk to their doctor before starting a laughing routine.

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