Eat your vegetables. Get plenty of exercise. Sing a song?
Across every generation and around the world, music plays an important role in our lives. Who hasn’t heard a certain song on the radio and instantly a special person or memory comes to mind? Music brings us closer to our families, our friends and our neighbors. It accompanies our special occasions and gets us through tough times.
But that’s not all. According to science, music is actually good for your health! Over the past few decades, researchers have discovered that music can boost your brain power and promote good mental and physical health. It’s also useful for those who are recovering from a serious illness or injury.
So hit that “play” button and read on to learn why music is an important part of a healthy lifestyle!
Brain Benefits of Listening to Music
The human brain is hardwired to distinguish music from other stimuli. What’s more, different qualities of music engage different regions of the brain. Your right temporal lobe perceives melody and harmony, your cerebellum processes rhythm and your frontal lobes process the emotional aspects of music.
Experts tell us that music is a perfect way to get a great brain workout, especially as you age. Instrumental background music helps with processing speed while performing a cognitive task. Practicing a musical instrument promotes language skills and attentiveness. And if you’re trying to pick up a second language, try singing some of those new words instead of just speaking them. You just might remember them better!
Music from different eras can benefit your brain in different ways. Want to jog your memory? Play something old and familiar. Songs from your high school days will evoke some of the experiences you had during that time in your life. Looking to boost your creativity? Check out what your kids and grandkids are into these days. New music challenges your brain in positive ways, which helps you grasp new concepts and generate fresh ideas.
Psychological Benefits of Music
The right song doesn’t just help you express your emotions. It actually changes them. Listening to something relaxing helps you recover from a stressful event, while upbeat songs make all ages feel more happy, energetic and alert.
Music triggers the release of neurochemicals that are associated with good mental health. It stimulates pleasure-inducing dopamine and immunity-promoting serotonin. It boosts oxytocin, which helps you feel connected with other people. One study even found that listening to classical and jazz music improved symptoms of depression.
Keep in mind that musical taste is personal and that different genres can affect people differently. A style that makes one person anxious may be relaxing for someone else, while something that helps you concentrate may be distracting for your neighbor.
Physical Benefits of Music
That song you know by heart may actually be good for your heart! Depending on tempo and intensity, music can regulate your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate. A joyful tune can increase blood flow similar to performing aerobic exercise.
Playing music helps you exercise more efficiently and reduces perceived exertion, so you end up working out longer. One study found that playing up–tempo music while riding a stationary bike actually makes you pedal faster! People over 65 may be less likely to fall after walking and moving in time to music.
If you’re trying to cut down on portion sizes at the dinner table, gentle music and soft lighting might help. If you’re tossing and turning at night, something relaxing before bedtime may improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. A review of 97 studies found that music may even help with pain management for some people.
Finally, in hospitals and other healthcare settings, music relieves stress for patients recovering from heart attacks and other critical illnesses. Music therapy may help stroke patients feel less anxious and form new neural pathways to help with recovery. It may also slow cognitive decline for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
At the Terrace Retirement Community, our Terrace Singers Choir meets once a week for practice and delivers crowd-pleasing performances throughout the year. You can visit our Facebook page to listen in on the fun! We also host musical performances and other forms of entertainment that make life more enjoyable for everyone.
Want to learn more? Reach out to us at any time to schedule a tour or to request an information packet.