“It’s the one thing I’ve really noticed” says Bike Lady (we never know anyone’s names so everyone has an obvious pseudonym for identification purposes) “All you swimming ladies are always laughing”
And it’s so true. Karen and I started daily swimming almost as a dare, an idea that we might possibly become fitter and firmer with exercise… but mainly we realise now, so that we could find a moment every day to have a giggle. It might be because we have a story to share or are motivated to laugh at ourselves shrieking as we go into the water. But all to often it’s because one of us does something daft. We have stumbled, got stuck, tripped in mud and on rocks, and very often we have suddenly recognised just how ridiculous we look and have collapsed into snorts. On numerous occasions either one of us has swallowed a hideous amount of salty Solent seawater because we’ve been laughing too much to be able to shut our mouths whilst swimming. This naturally sets the other one off and more briny liquid is ingested.
Laughing is good for you – it boosts the immune system, triggers the release of endorphins, and relaxes the body. It also helps protect the heart by improving blood vessel function and blood flow. Apparently 10–15 minutes of laughter can even burn about 40 calories too (although surely the muscle tensing due to cold water immersion burns more?!). Primarily it makes sea swimming more fun.
The main thing is that we have laughed every day, despite all that has been going on, and laughter is most definitely good for you!