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How to Elevate Your Endurance with Laughter

·2-min read
Photo credit: PeopleImages - Getty Images
Photo credit: PeopleImages - Getty Images

The elite marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge famously grins as he runs. This is not, contrary to what you might think, a sign of smugness in the face of his incredible abilities. Instead, it’s a science-backed strategy to help him relax and stay positive during discomfort.

Now, scientists have gone one better. Okay, perhaps not in terms of marathon records. But there is a trick that could help you better your own personal bests.

Researchers at Georgia State University found incorporating bouts of laughter into an exercise programme had a significant improvement on aerobic endurance. The study group performed two 45-minute training sessions a week, with a laughter exercise incorporated intermittently. Not only was giggling and snickering proven to relax the muscles, helping them recover from previous sets while preparing them for the next, it also increased blood flow.

Plus, laughter has also been shown to increase pain threshold by an average of 10%. A University of Oxford study found that laughing triggers the endorphin system, which plays a crucial role in pain management. The study authors found that 15 minutes of laughter boosts a person’s pain threshold significantly.

We’re not suggesting you start maniacally cackling to yourself in the gym mid-set (although that, in itself, might be quite amusing), rather cueing up a funny podcast or classic stand-up album in place of your usual playlist on your next run. Laughter might not be the best medicine – but, as a performance-enhancer, its credentials are solid.

You’re Having a Laugh

Three of the best painkilling podcasts for your next long run or ride.

The Adam Buxton Podcast

Some of you will remember Buxton from The Adam And Joe Show in the 90s. He was early to the podcasting game and it shows in his slick production and calibre of guests. His homemade jingles and chats with dog Rosie are bonuses.

Athletico Mince

When this podcast launched, it was about football – now it’s anything but. Bob Mortimer and co-host Andy Dawson have created a strange mix of commentary, surreal storytelling and some very, very bad impersonations.

Wolf and Owl

Romesh Ranganathan may well be the hardest working man on TV, now he’s making a bid for podcast ubiquity. With comedian Tom Davis, the pair cover subjects such as boxers vs Y-fronts and how to behave in a bed shop. Genuine LOLs.

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