There’s nothing quite like the strains of a familiar melody to get your body moving on the dance floor, bring back a distant memory, or lift your spirits when you’re feeling down. We all love rocking out to our favorite tunes, but it turns out that music actually does a body good. That’s correct: science is continually uncovering more and more data that suggests that music isn’t just good for the soul; it’s also great for your physical and mental health.
Music Boosts Athletic Endurance and Performance
As anyone who’s ever tried to stick to a fitness routine knows, it can be difficult to stay motivated. When you’re feeling low-energy, it’s really tempting to take a few shortcuts on your daily jog or reroute your bike ride to avoid those strenuous hills. A 2010 study published by the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science and Sports found that healthy male college students who listened to fast music pedaled stationary bikes at a substantially faster clip than those who listened to slow music, and that they reported lower levels of physical exertion.
The study did not feature a control group of students who listened to no music at all, but it’s safe to assume that those who listened to fast music while cycling would outperform such a hypothetical control. After all, who doesn’t feel like a boss when listening to their favorite jam?
Music Is Great for Your Brain
Listening or performing music is like exercise for your brain. Researchers have found that the act of listening or playing music in one’s later years helps bolster mental health and retain mental clarity, and that even those with brain damage or dementia may be able to use music to regain access to memories that would otherwise be lost forever.
Music Is Good for the Heart
We’re not talking about the metaphorical heart of rock and roll songs and romantic poetry; we’re talking about the one in your chest. Music boosts endorphin levels in the blood, which make you happier and lower your blood pressure. Peer-reviewed medical studies have found that listening to music speeds the recovery time of heart surgery patients.
Music Boosts Your Mood
We’re all acutely aware of the fact that listening to our favorite tracks can make us feel like a million bucks. That’s because hearing a song you like causes your brain to release dopamine, a natural feel-good chemical that boosts mood and reduces anxiety.
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