How Laughter Improves Longevity

Research suggests that people who laugh more often have a lower risk of death from heart disease and get sick less often.

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Monday motivation

  • The best medicine

  • Work of the week: Finish Strong Challenge

Arnold’s Podcast

Want more stories from Arnold? Every day, Arnold’s Pump Club Podcast opens with a story, perspective, and wisdom from Arnold that you won’t find in the newsletter. And, you’ll hear a recap of the day’s items. You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Arnold’s Corner: Monday Motivation

On Saturday, I donated and handed out toys at the Miracle on First Street celebration at the Hollenbeck Center in Boyle Heights in East LA.

That isn’t big news — I’ve been doing it for more than three decades, along with the Hollenbeck’s Thanksgiving turkey giveaway I talked to all of you about last month.

But there is something I thought about while I was there in my Christmas sweater, with the music blasting, passing out bicycles and scooters, and all the new toys I’ve never heard of.

I always tell you the power of giving back. I talk about the responsibility of helping others because all of us have been helped throughout our lives.

One thing I haven’t talked enough about is how great it feels to do something for someone else.

It sounds strange, like you’re taking something selfless and making it selfish. But it is true.

Almost nothing feels better than helping someone else. Recently, in The Pump app, some members of the village were talking about how even when they feel horrible, helping someone else gives them a boost.

I can tell you that Saturday, I felt fantastic when I showed up to donate gifts, but when I left, there was nothing that was going to wipe the smile off my face.

I believe we feel so wonderful when we give back and help others because we feel useful. We see that we have a purpose. We understand that we have more power than we thought.

No matter what else is going on, when we do something for even one person, we have an impact on the world. We change the world.

I told you after Thanksgiving that it’s important to give back any way you can this time of year because there are people who need your help.

As we head into Christmas and the New Year, consider this your reminder.

If you can find a way to do something for someone else, whether it is a donation, buying a meal, or just giving a compliment, you’re going to find that you also do something for yourself.

That’s what I call a win-win.

The Best Medicine

We’ve told you many times that movement is medicine. But the adage that “laughter is the best medicine” is more than a feel-good statement. 

Research suggests that those who laugh more tend to live longer. Two different studies looked at the relationship between laughter and longevity. The first was a 7-year study on more than 54,000 Norwegians, which showed that people who laughed more lived 35 percent longer. That was followed by a 15-year study analyzing more than 53,000 Norwegian men and women. 

In particular, women who laughed more often were associated with a 48 percent decrease in death from all causes, 73 percent lower risk of death from heart disease, and 83 percent lower risk of infection. Men’s numbers were not as impressive, but they still experienced a 74 percent reduced risk of death from infection. 

So what’s happening? It’s likely a domino effect. From a biological standpoint, laughter reduces stress while increasing the feel-good hormones that can help support a healthier immune system. The process of laughing — where you tense up and then relax — can have a calming effect on your body. Studies have also found that laughter can help people communicate, which leads to stronger social relationships (which we have shared is linked to longevity). 

Scientists aren’t sure why there was such a big difference in genders, but one potential reason is that — on average — men had lower humor scores as they aged compared to women. 

Consider this your reminder that no matter what is going on in life, try to find something to laugh about — even if it’s laughing at yourself. Research suggests that laughing at your imperfections — as long as it’s not self-deprecating — can help you feel better about yourself and build a more positive voice.

Workout of the Week: Finish Strong Workout #4

The Finish Strong Challenge continues for week two. Remember, at the end of the month, we’ll randomly reward three people with $1,000 who are a part of Arnold’s Pump Club and have shared their workouts on social media. Consider it a little extra incentive to keep training during the holiday season. 

This workout uses three tri-sets with little to no rest between the exercises.  That means you’ll do one set of the first exercise, then the second, and finally the third — and then you’ll rest for 2 minutes before repeating the same three exercises. You’ll blast the muscle, sculpt your body, and move on to the next tri-set of new exercises. Push hard and enjoy!

Dumbbell Version

Tri-set #1

  1. Incline dumbbell press: 3 sets x 10 reps

  2. Flat dumbbell press: 3 sets x 8 reps

  3. Pushups: 3 sets x as many reps as possible

Rest 2 minutes

Tri-set #2

  1. Bent-over dumbbell row: 3 sets x 12 reps

  2. Dumbbell rear delt raise: 3 sets x 10 reps

  3. Inverted row: 3 sets x 10-20 reps

Rest 2 minutes

Tri-set #3

  1. Dumbbell overhead press: 3 sets x 10 reps

  2. Dumbbell curl: 3 x 12 reps

  3. Dumbbell overhead extension: 3 x 12 reps

Bodyweight version

Tri-set #1

  1. Decline pushup: 3 sets x 10-20 reps

  2. Pushup: 3 sets x 10-20 reps

  3. Incline pushup: 3 sets x as many reps as possible

Rest for 2 minutes

Tri-set #2

  1. Inverted row: 3 sets x 12 reps

  2. Bent-over IYT’s: 3 sets x 10 reps (for each letter)

  3. Superman pullup: 3 sets x 10-20 reps

Rest for 2 minutes

Tri-set #3

  1. Inchworm: 3 sets x 10 reps

  2. Underhand inverted row: 3 set x 12 sets

  3. Bodyweight triceps extension: 3 sets x 12 reps

Give it a try, remember to share on social, and good luck!

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell