The Laughter Club is one of the best ways to have fun in St Albans

PUBLISHED: 14:55 12 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:11 06 May 2010

The Laughter Club

The Laughter Club

IT S no joke – one of the best ways to have fun in St Albans is to join The Laughter Club. At least that s what Jakob, a friendly Danish actor visiting the city on a research project, told me when I interviewed him a couple of weeks ago. I love a good c

IT'S no joke - one of the best ways to have fun in St Albans is to join The Laughter Club.

At least that's what Jakob, a friendly Danish actor visiting the city on a research project, told me when I interviewed him a couple of weeks ago.

I love a good chuckle as much as the next person, so on a lazy Sunday afternoon I headed to Park Street for some organised laughter with specialist yoga leader Lotte Mikkelsen.

Lotte, a 'Laughter Ambassador' from Denmark, was the happiest person I have ever met and she began the session by telling the five of us about the benefits of a good chortle.

Did you know that, in terms of aerobic exercise, a one-minute laugh is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine? Or that laughing releases endorphins, the body's natural pain killers which help combat depression? All very inspiring and we were soon ready for some hardcore laughter exercises.

Firstly Lotte taught us how to change the tone of our chuckle by directing the sound from different parts of the body. I like to think my conventional "ha ha ha" sounds more attractive than a dangerously masculine "ho ho ho", but it was interesting to learn that a good strong belly laugh can help tone tummy muscles.

Laughing for no reason -- "you must fake it to make it," Lotte taught us -- was a little embarrassing at first but the friendly atmosphere and Lotte's infectious confidence soon had everyone relaxed.

Some of the best exercises included the milkshake laugh - mix your "hee hee hees" with your "ha ha has" to blend a new sound - and the lawnmower laugh, which involved running around Lotte's lawn pretending to cut the grass with our laughter.

The session ended with 15 minutes of laughter meditation when we lay down and were told to laugh only if we felt the need to.

At first I was dreading a stony silence but for some weird reason - perhaps it was the effects of our home-made milkshakes - we couldn't stop laughing.

The point of the Laughter Club is to release those happy endorphins and leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the hectic world outside. I certainly felt rosy-cheeked after an hour and a quarter of exercise, and best of all my laugh had transformed from a nervous giggle into a genuine guffaw.

When? The Club runs the second Sunday of every month

Where? Verulamium Park between the Roman City Wall and the Bandstand (near the lake)

How much? Free

Contact: Lotte Mikkelsen, on 07736341717; lotte@unitedmind.co.uk


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