Do you sing along to your favorite song on the radio?  Do you love listening to music while at home?  Did you know this love of music might be doing more than just entertaining you?  Research is showing that not only does music entertain us, but music also has health benefits…….so turn up that music!

Health Benefits of Listening to Music

One study has shown that music has the ability to prevent anxiety-induced increases in heart rate and systolic blood pressure, and decrease cortisol levels.  These are all biological markers of stress.  Researchers have found that music and its stress-reducing effects were more powerful than the effect of an orally-administered anxiolytic drug on surgery patients.  Performing music has been found to be a stress-relieving activity.  Scientists have found that adult choir singers, singing the same piece of music tended to fall into a pattern where they will synchronize their breathing and heart rates, producing a group-wide calming effect.

Researchers are studying the correlation between music and better immune health.  Recent studies have found that piano sonatas helped relax critically ill patients by lowering stress hormone levels, but the music also decreased blood levels of a protein called interleukin-6.  This protein is linked to higher mortality rates, diabetes, and heart problems.  Many researchers believe that music can be used as an aid in the healing of the body but more studies must be done.

Music has been shown to help people run faster and better.   Research has shown that music can help increase endurance by as much as 15 percent.  Music can help to lower the perception of effort during exercise, as well as increase energy efficiency by between one and three percent.  Researchers and trainers suggest the best choices for exercise are upbeat songs that match the tempo of your running stride and which can have a metronomic effect on the body, enabling you to run for longer.

Psychologists and researchers are studying how effective and positive music can be for the treatment of people dealing with mental health conditions.  ‘Music therapy is used in two main ways – either as a means of communication and self-expression or for its inherent restorative or healing qualities.  Researchers have found that music has the ability to help people who cannot express themselves.  Music is an outlet for the expression of the things that they were unable to put into words.  They are also studying the link between music and its ability to awaken buried memories or evoke emotional responses.

Music may help in the reduction of muscle pain as well.  Music seems to affect the autonomic nervous system which is the part of the nervous system responsible for controlling our blood pressure, heartbeat, and brain function.  Music has an effect on the limbic system.  The limbic system is the part of the brain that controls feelings and emotions  Researchers noticed that a slow rhythm when played, slows down blood pressure and heartbeat which helps us to breathe more slowly.  Research shows that this reduction also reduces muscle tension in the neck, shoulders, stomach, and back. Music has also been shown to reduce psychological tension in our minds.

So turn up the music!  Sing it out loud!  Enjoy the beats and sway to your favorite songs!

 Listening to music on a regular basis helps our bodies relax physically and mentally!

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