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Gerontologist. 2017 Nov 10;57(6):1051-1061. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnw105.

Evaluation of a Laughter-based Exercise Program on Health and Self-efficacy for Exercise.

Author information

The Gerontology Institute, Georgia State University, Atlanta.
Cooperative Extension Service, University of Arkansas, Little Rock.



Despite health benefits of physical activity (PA) and risks of physical inactivity, many older adults do not accumulate sufficient levels of PA to achieve associated health benefits. Lack of PA enjoyment may be a barrier to PA participation. Combining simulated laughter and PA for strength, balance, and flexibility is a potential solution for helping older adults maintain independence in activities of daily living through enjoyable participation in PA.

Purpose of the study:

The purpose of this study is to assess whether combining simulated laughter exercises with a moderate-intensity strength, balance, and flexibility PA program (i.e., LaughActive) increases participation in PA, health, and self-efficacy for PA among older adults residing in 4 assisted living facilities (ALFs).

Design and methods:

The 12-week wait list control pilot study used pre- and 6-week post-intervention comparisons within and between groups identified by paired sample t-test results among those who participated in twice-weekly LaughActive classes (n = 27).


Significant improvements (p < .05-.10) were observed in mental health (SF-36v2), aerobic endurance (2-minute step test), and self-efficacy for exercise (OEE).


PA programs that elicit positive emotions through simulated laughter have the potential to improve health, physical performance, and self-efficacy for PA among older adults and may positively influence participant adherence.


Assisted living; Exercise intervention; Laughter; Physical activity; Simulated laughter

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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