Whether you’re the person behind the instrument or you’re listening to it through your earbuds, science supports the long-believed fact that music is good for more than the soul. A good song has the ability to add fun to even the most mundane workout and creating that song can relieve stress and improve cognitive function. Here are five clear health reasons you should make music a part of your everyday life.
Listening to Music Motivates You to Exercise
After determining that people tended to choose the least strenuous cadence while walking or running, researchers studied the effect music could have on altering that cadence. The study found that, by using the correct type of music, exercisers could trick the brain into overcoming that automatic cadence and work harder. There’s even an app for that. With Cruise Control: Run, runners can challenge themselves by picking up the pace using their own playlists. Whether someone uses an app or just runs a favorite playlist, listening to music makes working out more fun, which is a motivator in itself.
Playing Music Works Out Your Brain
Scientific research has revealed that playing music can actually make a person smarter. Those who play instruments experience an increase in the size of the area that transfers motor, sensory, and cognitive information among the hemispheres of the brain, researchers have shown. But the benefits aren’t limited to young musicians. At any age, learning and playing an instrument has been shown to improve memory and cognitive function.
Music Relieves Stress
Stress is a serious health concern for people of all age and enjoying music, both as a listener and a creator, has been shown to be a stress reducer. Even the most hectic day can be relieved by kicking back in a chair and listening to the sounds of great music. Stress impacts people of all ages, with teens having a particularly difficult time learning to manage it. Over time, unmanaged stress can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, and other health problems. Even from a young age, people can learn to play or listen to music as a way to unwind or even escape from stressors in order to moderate their feelings of anxiety.
Improve Vascular Health
In a study published by the American Heart Association, patients who listened to upbeat music experienced emotions that improved blood flow. Artery flow mediated dilation (FMD) in the upper arm increased by 26 percent while listening to music that encouraged feelings of joy. Conversely, when patients listened to music that evoked feelings of anxiety, upper arm FMD dropped six percent.
Despite changes in the way we listen to and create music over the years, the role it plays in our day-to-day lives hasn’t changed. Whether someone is picking up an instrument for the first time, is a seasoned player or creating a playlist to help reduce stress while driving in rush-hour traffic, the emotional and physical benefits are clear. Playing or listening to music is good for your health and well-being.