From Me to You

Who laughs more: the person speaking, or the person listening to the speaker? On average, the speaker will laugh about almost three times for every two laughs from the audience. When the speaker and listener are different genders, women laugh a lot more when speaking to men than men do when speaking to women. Men loosen up a bit when speaking to other men [source: Davis].

Laughing and Weight Loss

Before we talk about burning calories through laughter, it's important to understand that everything you do burns calories. You're burning calories right now reading this article, just by letting your body pump your heart, expand your lungs and perform all of the other duties required to keep you alive. A 150-pound (68-kilogram) person will burn about 22 calories just by reading for 15 minutes. Of course, adding a little aerobic effort to your ill-advised reading-for-exercise program will burn even more calories.

Here's how many calories you will burn (using a 150-pound (68-kilogram) person as an example) by doing the following activities for 15 minutes:

  • Biking over 20 mph (32 kph): 273
  • Jogging: 171
  • Stationary bike: 170
  • Downhill skiing: 102
  • Ballroom dancing: 77
  • Gardening: 68
  • Shooting pool: 42
  • Shopping: 40
  • Driving: 34
  • Typing: 25

That sounds like a lot of work, so let's take a closer look at laughing. Laughing helps burn calories by increasing your heart rate by 10 to 20 percent [source: Colmenares]. Your metabolism increases as well, meaning you will burn more calories at rest once you have stopped laughing. So exactly how many calories does laughing burn?

While the idea that we can melt our waistlines by laughing is an appealing one, we better not cancel our gym memberships just yet. Laughing for 15 minutes a day (and not necessarily all at once) burns somewhere between 10 and 40 calories a day [source: Buchowski]. That means that, so long as you're laughing, you can eat three -- maybe even four -- unsalted crackers without any guilt whatsoever.

Over the course of a laughter-filled year, the daily calories burnt from laughing result in a net loss of a little more than 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms). To add even more perspective to this, you burn more calories each day just by drinking eight glasses of water (70 calories). But everything helps, right?

Want more on laughter and the general health benefits of being happy? Try the next page.