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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Gory Getaway

The blog has been unattended for the last few days because I was visiting Orlando for a mini-break. I just got back yesterday, and enjoyed every minute away -- vacations are very good for your health. Everyone needs time away from work and from home.

But I specifically went to Orlando so that I could visit Universal's Halloween Horror Nights. Every year in October, Universal hosts its Halloween Horror Nights, and the park changes after sunset from a kid-friendly theme park into an adult-rated (scantily clad ladies, shots sold in vials, and stands selling bottles of beer and mixed drinks) haunted house. The park transforms and there are haunted houses, there are scare zones, there are frightening shows, and there are poeple roaming the streets dressed up and ready to jump out at you. It's great!

Some of the houses were truly the best haunted houses I've ever been through. I screamed my way through most of them, and felt terrified when the people inside jumped out at me. At one point, I think I pulled a muscle in my side from screaming and leaping to the side. My heart was pounding so hard, it felt as though I had just finished a hard run. In fact, being scared can produce many of the same effects as exercise can. Your heart rate increases, your breathing is rapid, and your muscles are tense and ready for action. All that adrenline, once again, flowing through your veins. That's why the event is so popular I suppose -- people love to get scared and they love to feel the rush that adrenline gives you.

However, it's interesting to note that most doctors would recommend a healthy dose of laughter before they would advise a good scare. Studies have shown that fifteen minutes of laughter (the deep, belly kind of laughter) actually gives your heart the same kind of workout that thirty minutes of exercise can do. Your arteries open wide and let the blood flow through easier and your heart doesn't have to pump so hard.

Plus, there are aspects of our health that cannot be explained through pure biology. But studies reveal that personality, attitude, and outlook all influence your overall health and that those who report that they are happy, are most often the ones with the fewest medical problems. So watching funny movies or TV shows, laughing with friends, and reading the comics are all actually healthy activities.

But I think there's still room for a good scream. And really, once I get done screaming on a roller coaster or in a haunted house, I usually find myself laughing as well.

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