You may think “Of course listening to music is good for my heart. When I dance to it I’m exercising, right?” Well, yes, dancing is a form of exercise.
Now researchers have found that listening to music even without exercising can also be good for your heart.
What kind of music works, how long do you listen, and how do you get the best result?
In a study presented at the European Society of Cardiologists 2013 Congress, researchers tested the effects of music therapy on people who were already diagnosed with coronary artery disease and in stable condition. The participants were divided into three groups: a Trained group, a Music group, and a Music and Trained group. People in the Trained, and Music and Trained groups were given three weeks of supervised aerobic exercise training at a residential center. What kind of music works and how long do you have to listen? Those in the Music, and Music and Trained groups were listening to their favorite music for 30 minutes a day.
Listening to music can help increase your capacity for exercise.
After three weeks, the results showed a marked increase in exercise capacity across all three groups. The Music and Trained group’s exercise capacity increased by 39%, the Trained group’s capacity increased by 29% and the Music group’s capacity increased by 19%.
In all three groups, nitric oxide was increased. Nitric oxide is associated with the relaxation of the smooth muscles of our blood vessels, allowing blood flow to increase. When your blood flow’s through your blood vessels more freely, it’s better for your blood pressure. When your blood is restricted in its flow, your blood pressure increases, which also increases your risk for heart disease.
Even though the study was done with people who already had coronary artery disease, exercise for healthy people has been found to be good for your heart. The type of exercise training the people received in this study was aerobic exercise. When you do aerobic exercises, you are using your large muscles, such as arms and legs. This type of exercise includes activities such as walking, jogging, running, stair-climbing, dancing, and cycling.
Your Favorite Music plus Exercise Maximizes Your Heart Healthy Benefit.
Although you can get some benefit from just listening to music, the greatest benefit comes from getting in that aerobic exercise plus listening to music. The positive effect on your arteries increases more than when you only do one of these activities. They don’t even have to occur at the same time. The study shows that the benefit comes from listening to music daily, while aerobic exercise is usually recommended for only several days of the week, or according to your doctor’s recommendations.
Listen to your favorite music for 30 minutes a day.
Your favorite music is whatever makes you feel good. If you choose something without words, it can help you focus on feeling good from the music rather than reacting to words. Sometimes the words to a song that we love the melody or beat to can be about something that is not very happy. Other times the words can be very uplifting. The important thing is that your music makes you feel happy, or takes you to a special place of bliss.
Some of my favorite songs have words, like those of Andrea Bocelli singing in Italian. Since I don’t speak the language, I delight in the beauty of his voice along with the music. I love the music of Earl Klugh, his fingers, painting with that beautiful guitar. I also love the thrill of tango, and the smoothness of bossa nova hits..
So that’s what’s on my favorites list. Now what’s on yours? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
All the Best,