Music – good for our health


Our choice of music varies considerably and we all react differently. MRI tests were conclusive that when we listen to our favourite music, parts of our brain light up, we release a ‘feel good’ chemical dopamine into our blood stream which makes us feel happy.

Music can stir strong emotions, if you’ve ever been through a relationship breakup you’ll have gone through the torture of playing and re-playing ‘your song’ and blubbing all the way through. Months/weeks/days,hours later (depending on how much you liked them!) the same song can take you back to those dark days or it can make you think, phew, that was a lucky escape and make you feel good!

I attended a funeral of one of our Exercise Referral customers last week. The service was lovely but what set me off was the music. They chose personal favourites from his jazz collection which made it more personal to him and his family.

Music is very personal, while some of us think that grunge is the best music ever others will only reach for the classical section. Some people have a very eclectic collection and can happily tap along to a spot of Shakin Stevens and the Foo’s!

Whatever your preference music has a massive effect on our wellbeing.

It gives us energy

Look at joggers and 9 out of 10 will be wearing earphones, I guarantee that they won’t be piping through a spot of easy listening; they will be flooding their lug holes with some invigorating music with a high beat per minute. Working out to fast music helps us to train harder. My studio session customers really go for it during HIIT and Aerobics. Over the years I have collected a huge amount of music for my studio sessions; the bpm is crucial to the intensity level of the class, the music lifts the mood of the participants, they sing along (only to drown me out, sorry for the awful noise!!), they are motivated and they forget that they are working hard (at least that’s the plan!) Well done team!

It keeps us awake

If you’ve been on a long car journey the only thing you have to get you though is music. Don’t even pretend that you don’t whack in your favourite CD and sing at the top of your lungs. The car is a great place to really get some volume without causing anyone else distress (unless there’s a passenger of course!)  I once spoke to my husband on the phone before I left to drive home; I cranked up the volume and belted out the lyrics to a Robbie Williams number. It wasn’t until I got home and he was rolling around laughing that I saw that I’d not cut the call and he was listening/ recording my warbling’s. See, I told you music make you happy, well it made him laugh anyway!

Helps ease pain

Many mums in labour will have a birthing play list to help them focus on something else other than the pain. Being stuck in a side room when the only other noise is the clock ticking (the only other time a clock ticks as loud as the one in a labour room is when you’re sitting an exam, do they buy extra loud ticking clocks??) Your favourite music can certainly distract you to a certain point but at the last stages there could be a whole brass band at the end of the bed and it wouldn’t make a slightest bit of difference!

Helps us focus

As I’m writing this I have the radio on, I concentrate better when there’s some background noise, and silence is too well, silent! Lots of students find that music helps them to revise, some surgeons have music on when they operate; I’m hoping it’s not anything too up beat with a bit of air guitar going on!

It keeps us healthy

Listening to music can help keep your blood pressure at a healthy level which in turn prevents the development of strokes and heart disease. Music eases stress, a nice bath with bubbles, a massage and even a yoga class with relaxing music can help to keep you calm and chill out at the end of the day.

Improves memory

Music is used with dementia patients to unlock memories and kick start grey matter. The auditory system of the brain is the first to fully function at 16 weeks which means that we’re musically receptive long before anything else. It’s a case of first in last out when it comes to dementia-type breakdown of memory.

A song can transport you back in time; it amazes me when I hear a song that I haven’t heard for ages that I can remember the lyrics, even from school days. If my maths Teacher had sang his  lessons to me maybe I’d be arithmetic genius today?

Helps kids development

Using music to learn is fun, repeating nursery rhymes helps children to develop language, communication, listening, motor and social skills. My children knew the alphabet song before attending pre-school this gave them a head start before they began full time education and gave them confidence.

It’s very social

Going to concerts can really boost your mood, joining a choir is recommended for mental health patients, even going to a football match can encourage you to exercise your vocal chords. Where else can you get a group of men to sing??

Music is all around us, but, be aware, it can be dangerous. Someone I know celebrated their birthday at a concert, he decided it would be a great idea to join in the mosh pit, unfortunately it was his 40thbirthday, not his 20th and he ended up snapping his ankle, slightly embarrassing…..

It must be lovely to be able to sing without people groaning and throwing things at you but, for those of us who are not blessed in the vocal chord department, keep singing as loud as you can, enjoy the music, it’s good for your health but remember to check your phone first.

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