Power of Music: 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Music
We all love music. It's good for the soul.
But did you know it's good for your health?
It makes sense. Music is powerful. Just think about how many times music has made you raise your fist, play air guitar or moved you to tears.
That kind of power is beneficial to our health in many ways. Just how does music make you healthier?
Keep reading as we've compiled ten surprising health benefits of music that can help you now and in the future.
1. Music Reduces Stress
Bob Marley once said, "one good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain."
The right music can transport your mood to another place and can even reduce your stress levels. New research indicates that listening to music can change the functionality of your brain at the same level as medication.
Listening to relaxing music is your best bet to lower your stress. How you define relaxation is up to you, just make sure the music is calming to your soul.
2. Music Improves Your IQ
Scientists have been linking musical aptitude with superior academic performance in children for decades.
A more recent study demonstrates that children who take music lessons show improved language-based reasoning and higher academic achievement than their counterparts.
The study concludes that children develop cognitive skills through music lessons and that they apply those learning skills in completely unrelated subjects. In this way, their overall academic performance is better than students who do not take music lessons.
3. Music Helps to Cope With Pain
One of the best benefits of music is that it helps to manage pain.
One major study concludes that listening to music before, during, or after surgery reduces pain for surgery patients with greater effectiveness than for those who do not listen to music. The researchers note that listening to music at any time is beneficial, but listening before surgery produces the best pain management benefits.
The group who listened to music also required less medication than those who did not listen to music.
If you need surgery, music should be added to your plan as a non-invasive aid to coping with pain.
4. Music Improves Your Memory
Scientists are finally solving the debate about whether music improves your memory. Evidence is mounting that demonstrate the connection between music and your memory.
Research shows that people who have lost their memories can often regain them just by listening to a playlist of music they used to enjoy. The begin to feel like they used to.
Studies also find that music activates the parts of your brain associated with memory, speech, emotions, and reasoning. It helps you reactivate old memories and to create new ones.
5. Music Can Reduce Your Appetite
Another benefit of music is that it can help you eat less and enjoy your meals more. In this way, music can actually help you if you want to lose weight.
One study discovered that listening to soft music under low lighting leads to consuming less food. When restaurants created this environment, patrons ate 18% less food than consumers in other restaurants.
The researchers believe the music and lighting cause you to relax more and be more comfortable. As a result, you eat your food more slowly and are more conscious of when you feel full.
If you're trying to eat less, try this at home and see if it works for you.
6. Musical Study Improves Brain Health in Old Age
We've seen how music can help young students improve their academic performance. Music also holds significant benefits for the older set as well.
A study at the University of Kansas Medical Center found that older adults with ten or more years of musical study achieved higher scores on cognitive tests than musicians with nine years or less of musical experience. The lowest scores went to non-musicians.
The researchers believe that practicing an instrument creates connections in the brain that may even compensate for declining brain function as we age.
It's never too late to begin playing music. Start now and thank yourself for improved brain health later.
7. Music Elevates Your Mood
We all know the joy that music can bring us. Music can transform your emotions almost instantly.
But the good feelings you receive from listening to music can last well after the music has stopped. Music makes you feel better and become more self-aware.
And if you're intentionally trying to become happier, regular listening to positive music for two weeks or more will do the trick.
8. Music Improves Your Workout Performance
Like exercising, listening to music releases endorphins in the brain to give us a euphoric feeling. Endorphins also ease anxiety, stress, and pain, helping you to concentrate on your workout better.
Music also catapults your effort during exercise. One study confirms what we've suspected all along; we work harder when we listen to music.
In the study, cyclists biked farther and pedaled faster when listening to fast-paced music. When the music became slower, so did their cadence. When listening to fast music, the cyclists covered further distances within the same time period and exerted more power with each pedal stroke.
Next time you need motivation at the gym or during a run, put on your headphones and listen to some fast music.
9. Music Can Help Manage Depression
More than 300 million people around the world suffer from depression. To help cope with depression, many mental health professionals recommend listening to music.
A German study confirmed the benefits of music for those suffering from depressive symptoms. However, it should be noted that the positive effects resulted from classical and meditative music. Techno and heavy metal actually made depression worse. Read more about new music releases here.
10. Music Improves Your Quality of Sleep
Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health consequences, including type 2 diabetes, heart issues, and even cancer. Our bodies need sleep as a time to heal the body and prepare it for the next day.
Luckily, music can help. One recent study concludes that music significantly improves our quality of sleep and decreases mild to moderate depression. This should come as no surprise as 90% of people suffering from depression also experience insomnia.
Final Thoughts on the Health Benefits of Music
Clearly, we can see the health benefits of music are plentiful and powerful. Music can elevate your mood, lower your stress levels, and manage pain and depression. It can even improve your IQ, reduce your appetite, enhance your memory and keep your brain function strong as you get older.
All of this is great news for music lovers and gives us even more reasons to listen to our favorite tunes.
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