Music is good for your heart in more ways than one

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Guest post by John Turrell, Wellness Coordinator, Greater Portland Branch, YMCA of Southern Maine.

We are constantly reminded that healthy eating and exercise are necessary for a healthy heart. Of course, healthy eating and exercise take discipline and work, which is hard and time-consuming.

Why can’t something like music be healthy for our heart, as well as entertaining? Well, it is!

Studies have found that in fact, music can strengthen the heart and improve the recovery of patients suffering from heart disease. Cardiologists say the findings suggest that all people could boost the health of their hearts simply by listening to their favorite tunes.

One study divided patients with cardiac disease into three groups.

  • One group was enrolled in an exercise class for three weeks.
  • Another group was also in an exercise class but listened to music of their choice at any time for 30 minutes every day.
  • The third group only listened to music and did not exercise.

The results showed that the patients who listened to music and exercised boosted crucial measures of heart capacity by 39 percent. The group that only exercised improved their capacity by 29 percent. Even those who listened to music and did not exercise improved their exercise function — by 19 percent.

The findings suggest that endorphins released while listening to music were behind the changes.

This study implied that the most effective music is what the participants like and makes them happy. Other studies suggest there might be some types of music that are not so good for the heart. Heavy metal, for instance, which might raise stress levels. It may also be better to listen to music without words because it is possible that the words themselves can be upsetting.

Opera, classical, and other types of “joyful” music were more likely to stimulate endorphin release.

This is great news for all you music lovers. Just make sure the music you pick is joyful and makes you feel good. Listen to it for at least 30 minutes a day and keep exercising. Your heart will love you.

Guest post by John Turrell, Wellness Coordinator, Greater Portland Branch, YMCA of Southern Maine.

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. Now she writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.