In recent years, more and more research has been done to suggest a link between listening to music and improved health. From the health benefits of rock music to soothing classical or jazz, it seems that listening or playing any kind of music will be a worthwhile activity. Around the world, studies have shown a link between listing to music and improved mental wellbeing, physical health and sporting performance.
I think that deep down, all of us realise instinctively that music has a positive effect on our well-being. After all, when we want to relax we will often turn to classical or chilled out music to help to dispel all those accumulated stresses and worries.
In fact, it appears that listening to slow-paced music actually alters the speed of brainwaves and thus recreates the type of brainwave activity displayed by someone who is meditating or under hypnosis.
Studies suggest that recreating this sensation by using music can ease pain and has a generally therapeutic effect. A 2013 study entitled ‘The psychological functions of music listening’ found that listening to music put people more in touch with their feelings and raised their mood.
If you have ever paid a visit to the gym, then chances are that music was blasting out through speakers on every wall. If not, you may have chosen to plug into the tunes on your phone while you hit the treadmill. Science appears to back up our intuition that music has motivational benefits when it comes to exercise. Studies such as that done by Marcelo Bigliassi and colleagues (How Does Music Aid 5 km of Running?) found that listening to motivational music helped people to run faster. Being distracted by listening to your favourite music can help to increase workout endurance, while a third study found that male students cycled faster when listening to fast music. Furthermore the ‘Effect of different musical tempo on post-exercise recovery in young adults’ found that listening to any kind of music after exercise helped to speed up recovery.
The other health benefits of listening to music which have been identified by scientists and researchers are wide-ranging. For example, it has been found that listening to music can help to improve the function of blood vessels, people felt happier while listening to favourite song which in turn increased blood flow. Listening to music also triggers biochemical stress reducers and thus helps to relieve stress and relax people. This relaxing effect extended to a study which found that patients waiting for cardiovascular surgery were demonstrably calmed by soothing music playing.
With so much evidence mounting up, it seems clear that all of us need a little more music in our lives.