Giggle, Snort, Guffaw: Crack Up and Give Back at LaughFest 2016

Giggle, Snort, Guffaw: Crack Up and Give Back at LaughFest 2016

How many times a day do you laugh?

With all the health benefits laughter provides, we could all stand to engage in a few good guffaws more frequently. Not only is it good for psychological health, laughing has physiological benefits as well.

This is your body on laughter:

  • When you laugh, your pituitary gland releases its own opiates, which suppress pain.
  • Laughing helps you produce more immune cells, antibodies and natural killer cells, which help your body fight off infections.
  • Your levels of the hormone epinephrine drop, which plays a role in hypertension and heart failure.
  • The muscular movements of laughing trigger the release of endorphins in the brain, which provide a “feel-good” effect.
  • A chuckle and a good hearty belly laugh decrease stress, help a person develop coping skills, improve blood pressure and blood flow, provide a burst of energy for exercise, manage pain, boost social skills, boost the immune system, and energize the organs and reduce aggression.
  • Laughing can also help you boost your heart rate by about 10 to 20 percent and increase your metabolism throughout the day.
  • Researchers have found that 10–15 minutes of laughter burns about 50 calories.

Get your laughs in by checking out Grand Rapids’ 6th annual LaughFest, which starts March 10. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are sponsoring the Seriously Funny Family Adventure Challenge, which will have teams of all ages racing around downtown taking part in fun and silly timed challenges.

All proceeds from LaughFest benefit Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, created to support cancer patients and their loved ones. As a way to raise funds specifically to support programs at Gilda’s Club, Blue Care Network will sponsor local blood drives for the fourth year in a row. For every individual who donates blood, Blue Care Network will donate $5 to LaughFest’s “High Five” campaign.

Blood drives will be held:

  • Monday, Feb. 29 at Michigan Blood’s Grand Rapids Donor Center, 1036 Fuller Ave. NE, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 1 at the Blue Care Network Cascade office —Blood Mobile, 611 Cascade West Parkway SE, from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, March 3 at Grandville United Methodist Church, 3140 Wilson Ave. SE, from noon to 7 p.m.

Each donor will receive a T-shirt along with the chance to win tickets to see LaughFest shows.

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Photo credit: Katie Thomas

 

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