Of course all of us here at ALT-AZ LOVE music- but did you know there are so many health benefits to getting your musical fill? It’s not just for the soul, but it’s for your body and mind as well. Studies have been done for decades and each time, more and more benefits arise.
That’s right, listening to ALT-AZ is good for your health, so keep us playing while you check out these 9 benefits of music.
1. Elevates Mood
This one probably isn’t too surprising. The first thing many of us want to do when we feel down is play a certain song. Even sad songs can help lift up our mood by providing an outlet for our emotions.
So there is actually a science behind people walking around singing when they are happy. This happens because when you hear something you like, your brain releases dopamine. Dopamine is the happy chemical. So next time you’re not feeling too hot, play some of your favorite jams and get a literal music-high!
2. Reduces Stress/Relieves Symptoms of Depression
Music, both listening and learning to play, reduces stress. Since stress is a huge cause of a lot of debilitating physical ailment, music is also linked to improving overall health. Particularly, it helps your heart! Whether your heart is broken or actually sick, music is there to help.
Another ailment music can ease is symptoms of depression. More than 350 million people around the world suffer from depression. I’m sure that number has gone up since the pandemic. Certain types of music help combat the off-chemistry in a depressed brain. A study by Hans Joachim Trappe in Germany showed that classical music was able to lift up the mood of those depressed while music like heavy metal brought them more down.
Careful what you listen to!
3. Stimulates Memory/Helps Improve Memory
How many times have you heard a song and instantly been thrown back into a memory? Probably pretty often. This is because listening to music activates that part of your brain!
When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Listening to a new song for the first few times is a learning experience for your brain. Your brain is trying to not only memorize the lyrics but the beat, odd sounds, breaks in the music and more. Because of this, music is basically an exercise in memory for your brain. Kind of like puzzles. So go ahead, flex that memory muscle and throw that new album release on repeat!
4. Eases Pain
I believe this one with no doubt. Something people encourage you to do before going into labor is making a good playlist. Why? Because listening to music eases pain! And what laboring mom-to-be doesn’t want the extra hand in that.
This happens by providing reduced stress (more stress = more pain) but by also creating a competing stimulus to the pain signals. Basically the music can cause a sort of traffic jam in your brain and it makes it more difficult for it to pick up on the pain signals. You might have experience a similar phenomena if you’ve ever been injured doing something you enjoy (like a sport) and not realizing it until you’ve stopped doing that activity. Adrenaline and music have similar, yet opposite, effects on the body!
5. Increases Work Out Endurance
This is the exact reason that I do not understand people who don’t bring headphones to the gym. Listening to music increases your endurance. It’s the same way that it decreases pain. One tactic, many purposes. A study done by Marcelo Bigliassi found that people who listened to fast or motivational music completed the 800 meter run faster than those who listened to no music or calm music.
The music itself cannot only block out some of the pain associated with tired lungs but the quickened beat gives your brain something to aspire to. You’ll naturally want to quicken your pace if you’re listening to something upbeat.
6. Helps You Sleep Better
Remember how we talked about reducing symptoms of depression? One symptom it reduces is insomnia. That’s right, music helps you sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, don’t turn on your go-to repeat show on Netflix. Instead, turn off the TV and play some relaxing or classical music for 45 minutes. It will help control the waves of your brain and slow them down to get you closer to a sleep state. The exact opposite thing a TV does. 30% of Americans suffer from insomnia. If this is you, give music a try!
7. Proven to Improve Recovery in Stroke Patients
Here’s a wild one! Music can actually improve the recovery process of those who have suffered a stroke. Research from the University of Helsinki showed that patients who listened to two hours of music a day had significantly improved cognitive function compared to those who were given audiobooks. Most of the music given contained music which suggests that it was a combination of the music and voice that jump started a patients memory.
All those parts of the brain that we have talked about being activated during listening were still able to be reached after a stroke, which is just crazy. Tapping into those parts of the traumatized brain in a soothing way lead to the eventual restoration.
8. Increases IQ
Music is food for your brain! Multiple studies have shown that children who take music lessons have a higher academic performance and IQ than those who don’t. One particular study consisted of 6 year olds in keyboard and singing lessons for 36 weeks. Their standardized testing results showed larger IQ increases than the group of kids who were in drama or no lessons. So don’t just listen to music, learn it too.
9. Longevity in Brain Health Through Old Age
Music isn’t just a young persons game! Don’t tell the youth to turn it down. Join in. It’s going to keep you sharp through the aging process. Your brain really is a use or lose muscle. You have to flex parts of it everyday and music is proven to tap into so many areas that begin to fade away with old age. Older musicians with 10 years of experience or more scored higher in a cognitive test than older musicians who had less years and non-musicians scored the lowest. This shows the more music you know, the better your brain. Never make fun of the grandpa rocking out at a concert!
Next time someone tells you to turn off the music, let them know you’re working on your health. Keep having personal concerts in your car and sharing new music you find. It’s going to make the world a healthier place!