Aim: To examine the effects of a once-weekly laughter and exercise program on physical and psychological health among elderly people living in the community. As a regular exercise program can be difficult to maintain, we provided a more enjoyable program to enhance adherence to exercise.
Methods: A total of 27 individuals aged 60 years or older, without disabilities, were randomly assigned to either an immediate treatment group (n=14) or a delayed treatment group (n=13). The intervention was a 120-min session consisting of laughter and exercise, carried out once a week for 10 consecutive weeks. Measurements taken at baseline, 3 and 6 months included bodyweight, height, body fat, lean mass, bone mineral density, hemoglobin A1c (HbA(1c)), glucose, high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides, as well as self-rated health and psychological factors.
Results: All participants completed the 3-month program. Bone mineral density increased significantly in the immediate treatment group compared with the delayed treatment group during the first 3 months (P<0.001). In addition, HbA(1c) decreased significantly (P=0.001), and self-rated health increased significantly (P=0.012).
Conclusions: The combination of a laughter and exercise program might have physiological and psychological health benefits for the elderly. Laughter might be an effective strategy to motivate the elderly to participate in physical activity.
© 2012 Japan Geriatrics Society.