If your New Year’s resolutions call for taking better care of your health, improv comedy may be the answer. Numerous studies and common sense show that laughter is good for our bodies and our minds. It’s also easier on your shins than learning to box jump.
Some of the earliest observations about laughter and health come from Norman Cousins, an American political journalist who used emotions as part of fighting illness. He managed to live years longer than his doctors predicted given his battles with heart disease and a form of severe arthritis. You can find some of his story in his books including Anatomy of an Illness. He says he relied on Marx Brothers movies to give him a couple of hours of pain free sleep.
More recently, a University of Oxford study found that social laughter increases pain thresholds. Participants were tested before and after watching TV shows like Friends and Mr. Bean along with a live show from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Their ability to tolerate pain increased by an average of 10 percent after watching about 15 minutes of comedy in a group. Laughter has also been credited with boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure and burning up calories.
Not surprisingly, there are still questions about causation here. Maybe healthy people laugh more to begin with. It’s also difficult to evaluate how much the impact of laugher on health is caused by social bonding because any group activity can improve our health and sense of wellbeing. Then again, you can still enjoy improv comedy while scientists figure out the details.
Contact us to have a blast while you shape up. RISE Comedy Playhouse is Denver’s newest and most exciting comedy venue. Bring your friends along to enjoy original comedy, a well-stocked bar, and a unique and affordable night out.