Music is one thing that we all have in common – even though you might be a little country and I might be a little rock ‘n roll. We all have our favorite songs, our go-tos for celebration and for heartbreak and everything in between. Music can elevate us, energize us and fill us with joy. So the fact that it’s beneficial to our minds and bodies, is probably not news to you.
Think about this. Music is exercise for your brain. Studies have shown that it can improve memory and slow cognitive decline. You’ve experienced this power, if you’ve ever heard a song that triggered a long-forgotten memory.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “music memory is one of the brain functions most resistant to dementia”. And get this: studies have shown that listening to new music is more of a workout for your brain than humming along to your favorite tunes. It’s more of a challenge – just like any kind of exercise.
Our Old Friend Dopamine
Listening to music triggers the release of neurochemicals in the brain like Dopamine (pleasure “reward” centers), Serotonin (hormone related to immunity) and oxytocin (a chemical that fosters the ability to connect with others). So it makes sense that it can also be used to help treat mental illness.
I’m stating the obvious when I mention that music has an affect on mood. It can be powerfully uplifting and also the backdrop to our sadness. Use it wisely!
Let's Get Physical
Music goes beyond our psyche and emotions when it comes to benefits. Check out the benefits to your body –
- Heart health │if you can’t keep your feet still when you hear one of your favorite songs, that’s good for your breath rate, heart rate, and blood pressure.
- Decreases fatigue │ of course upbeat music can be energizing, but did you know that relaxing music helps to reduce fatigue? That’s what they found at Shanghai University. Music also lessens fatigue in people undergoing cancer treatments and it raises the fatigue threshold for people in demanding physical training.
- It boosts exercise performance │ working out with music improves your mood. Right? It also helps your body exercise more efficiently and leads to longer workouts, because music tends to make you forget that you’re working.
- Helps manage pain │ music has been shown to help manage pain – acute and chronic – better than medication alone.
Science is showing that there are more benefits than I’ve listed here and research is ongoing. But I think we can all agree that music is one of the best ways to energize our movement and exercise our brains in ways that also uplift our spirits.