Why Music is Healthy


In photo: Ares Max Becic

We all react to various types of music differently.  Some songs make us happy, some sad, some nostalgic, some motivated- but whatever the emotion, it moves us.  We all know how music can make us feel, but do we know why?  Science has come a long way in recent years in explaining just how music affects our brains, our bodies, our health.


Music can motivate us:  Music can help us work-out.  Don’t believe it?  Try running to a slow song you don’t like.  Now try running to a song that’s upbeat and you love.  We guarantee that you went faster and felt better running to a song you love.  Here’s why: a study at Brunel University in West London has proven that music can help increase endurance by as much as 15 per cent by helping to lower the perception of effort during exercise, as well as increasing energy efficiency by between 1-3%.  HFR recommends picking an up-tempo song that you can match your stride to, like a metronome, to keep yourself in pace over long distances.


Music can alter our moods:  While the brain is complicated, and there are many aspects that are involved in feeling of happiness and pleasure, it shouldn’t a surprise that research suggests dopamine release is triggered by music.  Researchers at McGill University in Montreal showed that listening to pleasurable music of any choice induced ‘musical chills’, which caused the release of the feel-good, happy chemical dopamine. So plug your MP3 player into your ears, and lighten your mood!


Music enhances our mental health: Music therapy is a technique that is becoming increasingly popular because there are two ways it can be beneficial:  either for its inherent healing and restorative qualities or as a means of self expression and communication.


Music helps us de-stress: Next time you’re feeling stressed, try and de-stress with some music instead of fuming internally. The therapeutic benefits of listening to music are widely known, so listening to one of your favorite songs can help reduce anxiety and be incredibly soothing.


Music helps us focus:  If you go into your phone’s Application marketplace, you will notice several companies offer Apps that signal specific sound waves to help focus, concentrate, or even wake up.  This is done by helping the brain cortex to generate specific brain waves, and inducing different states of alertness.  Slow, alpha-frequency brain waves encourages our brains to calm down if we are anxious or stressed, whereas if we help our cortex produce faster beta-frequency waves, we are more able to focus our attention and concentrate on a lengthy task.

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