Rutgers Educator Talks To Seniors About The Benefits Of Laughter

LAKEWOOD — Recently, Harrogate, a Life Care Continuing Care Retirement Community in Ocean County, hosted Joanne Kinsey, Rutgers Family & Community Health Science Educator, to present Laughter for Successful Aging and Healthy Lifestyle. Approximately 100 Ocean County residents attended the seminar to learn how laughter can contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

“As a senior living community that is dedicated to enriching the lives of seniors in the greater Ocean County area, we believe that laughter is an essential part to aging successfully,” states Don Johansen, Executive Director of Harrogate. “Being able to provide our seniors with a good laugh, while educating them about the importance of health was a fun, light-hearted way to enhance their healthy way of life.”

According to the book A Better Brain at Any Age: Holistic Way to Improve Your Memory, Reduce Stress, and Sharpen Your Wits by Sondra Kornblatt, laughter protects the heart by improving the function of blood vessels and increasing blood flow, which can reduce your risk of heart disease. Additionally, Kinsey highlighted that eating right and exercising are common tips given to age successfully, but laughter has more health benefits than most people are aware of, including:

  • Moving nutrients and oxygen to body tissues
  • Increasing antibodies in saliva and reducing infection
  • Improving ventilation and reducing chronic respiratory conditions
  • Releasing endorphins which provide natural pain relief
  • Reducing blood pressure and heart rate

“In today’s society, everyone is consumed with daily errands, task and schedules. However, it is important to not take life too seriously, because life does not take you too seriously,” states Kinsey. “We should aim to live a ‘goodhearted’ lifestyle. A lifestyle that focuses on eating well every day, exercising, spending time with the people you love and laughing, laughing, laughing.”

After discussing laughter, Kinsey expanded on simple, age appropriate diet and exercise changes for seniors. She provided information about colorful fruits and vegetables and described the health benefits for each. For example blue foods, like blueberries, purple cabbage or eggplant can help maintain healthy aging, memory and lower the risk of some cancers. Kinsey also suggested adding a different exercise into your daily routine, for 30-90 minutes, to have the ability to keep routine, but add variety.

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