Celeste Greene loved her grandmother so much, but she just couldn’t get the older woman to participate in rehab exercises after a fall.
“She didn’t like to exercise – but she LOVED to laugh!” says Celeste, a certified physical trainer with a master’s degree in gerontology. “I thought, what if I combine what I’ve learned about ‘intentional laughter’ with a physical training class for seniors? I thought that might incite her to exercise – and it did! She loved the blend of intentional laughter with exercise, and I saw this could be beneficial for lots of older people.”
“Laughter yoga” shows how everyone can laugh intentionally – nothing funny required. It was developed by a medical doctor and his yogi wife in India in 1995, then spread around the world. It’s called “laughter yoga” because it combines deep yogic breathing practices with exercise. This brings more oxygen to the body and brain, improves strength, balance, and endurance, Celeste says.
“We’re not actually laughing while we’re lifting weights or doing some other exercise,” Celeste says. “The laughter provides a break from the exercise and a chance to connect. When you laugh, you feel good – and people then associate those good feelings with exercise, which makes them more confident and more likely to come back.”
Celeste created her Laugh Active business with a focus on activity training in assisted living. But she quickly realized the potential is much broader.
“We can all benefit from more movement and more laughter,” she says.
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.