Can a few minutes of hearty laughter replace your treadmill time? No, but getting the giggles does burn some calories, and the more you laugh, the more you burn, say experts at Vanderbilt University.
Their study recruited 45 pairs of friends (we're more likely to laugh with others in the room than when we're alone) to watch comedy video clips, including episodes of Saturday Night Live and the movies There's Something About Mary and Austin Powers.
The volunteers viewed the scenes in a room equipped with a device that measures the number of calories burned, and each person was hooked up to a heart rate monitor. At the end of the session, researchers determined that laughing increased heart rate by 10 to 20 percent and burned about 1.3 calories per minute. That's similar to the so-called workout you'd get typing, filing, or playing cards. Jogging, on the other hand, burns about 10 calories per minute. "Pay attention to small things. Every calorie counts," says lead study author Maciej S. Buchowski, PhD. Chuckle for 15 minutes every day for a year and you could drop up to four pounds -- and that's nothing to laugh at.