Energy expenditure of genuine laughter.

Buchowski MS, Majchrzak KM, Blomquist K, Chen KY, Byrne DW, Bachorowski JA
Int J Obes (Lond). 2007 31 (1): 131-7

PMID: 16652129 · PMCID: PMC3518926 · DOI:10.1038/sj.ijo.0803353

OBJECTIVE - To measure energy expenditure (EE) and heart rate (HR) during genuine laughter.

DESIGN - Experimental trial of viewing film clips in four cycles either intended to evoke laughter (humorous -10 min) or unlikely to elicit laughter (not humorous -5 min) under strictly controlled conditions of a whole-room indirect calorimeter equipped with audio recording system.

PARTICIPANTS - Forty five adult friend dyads in either same-sex male (n=7), same-sex female (n=21) and mix-sex male-female (n=17); age 18-34 years; body mass index 24.7+/-4.9 (range 17.9-41.1).

MEASUREMENTS - Energy expenditure in a whole-room indirect calorimeter, HR using Polar HR monitor. Laugh rate, duration and type from digitized audio data using a computerized system and synchronized with HR and EE results.

RESULTS - Laughter EE was 0.79+/-1.30 kJ/min (0.19+/-0.31 kcal/min) higher than resting EE (P<0.001, 95% confidence interval=0.75-0.88 kJ/min), ranging from -2.52 to 9.67 kJ/min (-0.60-2.31 kcal/min). Heart rate during laughter segments increased above resting by 2.1+/-3.8 beats/min, ranging from -7.6 to 26.8 beats/min. Laughter EE was correlated with HR (r (s)=0.250, P<0.01). Both laughter EE and HR were positively correlated with laughter duration (r (s)=0.282 and 0.337, both P<0.001) and rate (r(s)=0.256 and 0.298, both P<0.001).

CONCLUSION - Genuine voiced laughter causes a 10–20% increase in EE and HR above resting values, which means that 10–15 minutes of laughter per day could increase total EE by 10–40 kJ (2–10 kcal) [corrected].

MeSH Terms (11)

Adolescent Adult Body Weight Calorimetry, Indirect Energy Metabolism Female Heart Rate Humans Laughter Male Time Factors

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