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The Science of Having FUN! It Truly is the Best Medicine!

By Ritamarie Loscalzo


Someone once told me that if you’re having too much fun in life, you can’t be healthy!

I remember saying, “What? That is totally not true! To me, having fun is a requirement for good health!”

What do you think?

Perhaps that individual’s definition of “fun” is not the same as mine, because I don’t include the following as fun activities:

  • Drinking (especially to excess)
  • Eating salty/processed chips, baked goods and sugary disasters (I’m thinking in the category of “Twinkies”…remember those?)
  • Sitting around on the couch watching TV all day (on a regular basis!)
  • Only walking as far as the fridge (and then, only to grab a beer!)

Can’t you just see why these “fun” things are detrimental to your health, and in many cases, can also be very isolating.Motehrs day family

But “healthy” forms of fun (see my list below) can be great “medicine”…have you ever heard of the saying that, “laughter is the best medicine?” I really believe this, and the science has backed that up.

Research has shown that having “healthy” fun can boost your energy, diminish pain, reduce your stress (and its negative effects), and can strengthen your immune system.

Having fun relaxes your body. Think about how you feel after a good laugh, or after doing something creative just for the fun of it. Don’t you feel like all the physical tension in your body has just left you?

Having fun triggers the release of your body’s “feel good” hormone, endorphins. Endorphins improve your mood and make you feel calm and happy and can even relieve some types of pain for a period of time. If you are typically an anxious person, you may feel less anxiety and fear.

And sometimes when you are having fun with others, your body is also producing the hormone oxytocin. This is the hormone of bonding, and is also a very happy, healthy hormone to produce! Cuddling your child, playing with your favorite pet, or even making love with your partner…all of these fun and pleasurable activities generate loads of oxytocin, which further decreases cortisol and stress levels.

And having fun isn’t just for when you are at home!

More and more, corporations are realizing that if their employees are having some fun in their jobs and co-worker relationships, that there are real-life health benefits (and even monetary savings for the company) to employees. I know many companies who routinely do “Biggest Loser” (weight loss) challenges which are motivating and fun for their employees (and have great health benefits!). I also know companies that hold “healthy potlucks” on a regular basis. These types of fun activities enhance teamwork, help morale, reduce conflict and promote stronger relationships within the workplace.

So what’s MY definition of FUN?

To me…FUN is:

  • Anything you do to relax (listening to your favorite music or reading)
  • Pampering yourself (getting a massage or a manicure, for example – and you get bonus points if you bring a best buddy along for the fun)
  • Anything that makes you laugh (I just know most of you have that favorite movie that just tickles you to no end…belly laughs are healthy!)
  • Enjoying movement (dancing, walking Fido, playing hopscotch with your grandchild)
  • Reliving your inner child (I hear coloring is in now! It is so relaxing…just stay in the lines (or not)!)
  • Reconnecting with a passion (remember when you did pottery? You were good…return to it! And what about painting or dancing. Even making cookies can be fun, as long as they are gluten and sugar-free, of course.)
  • Connecting with friends and family (so good for the soul! And I see a whole new wave of how people are connecting and motivating each other doing step challenges and the like…I absolutely love this…challenge your friends to track their step count each day, it becomes a fun competition with the benefits of exercise thrown in!)
  • Connecting with the spiritual you (meditation and prayer are both joyful experiences)
  • Expressing generosity and appreciation (helping others and appreciating all of the blessings in your life can be fun and rewarding)
  • And anything else that brings you joy, a smile, laughter or peace.

It’s easy to incorporate some FUN in your day…

What do you like to do for fun? Comment below or on my Unstoppable Health Facebook group page, I’d love to hear from you.


Last week’s blog on stress, and today’s post both cover topics that are discussed in my book, Unstoppable Health: 7 Breakthrough Habits to Feel Younger, Grow Stronger, and Enjoy More Energy, check it out on Amazon!

And if you haven’t already joined my Unstoppable Health Facebook group page, please do! This is a wonderful way to ask questions (and get answers!); and to share tips, recipes and other supportive information with like-minded individuals (and me, of course!)…it’s also a great way to share all of your ideas for having FUN!

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