The Heart of Rock and Roll…and the Brain…and the Body!

By Alison McMillan, Wellness Manager

Crank the tunes and jam out to improve your health! No, really! Music has an astonishing and profound positive effect on our bodies in so many ways.

Several studies done regarding music’s activation of the brain have found that not only does it stimulate the sound reception areas in your brain, but it also activates the parts of the brain involved in memory, emotion, and the motor system. Because of that kind of widespread activation, it’s been shown that music
can help stroke survivors recover their ability to speak and move.

One study showed that participants who took a weekly dance class saw improved Parkinson’s symptoms including improved speech, better balance, reduced tremors, and more. Another study showed positive effects on Alzheimer’s by music stimulating the brain to grow new nerve cells, build new neuron connections, and stimulate dopamine – a neurotransmitter that typically is deficient in Alzheimer’s, and that impacts mood and executive skills like memory, problem solving, and inhibition control.

Not only does music impact the brain positively, but it creates positive effects in the circulatory system too! It stimulates the autonomic nervous system which controls the cardiac and respiratory systems. One meta-analysis showed that slower music tempo led to reduced blood pressure and heart rate which helps the physical body and the mind relax. Participating in music by singing means expanding and using the lungs, controlling your breathing, and thus improving lung function. It can even help reduce shortness of breath and help improve the strength of your respiratory muscles.

Music can also improve your performance during physical activity and exercise. Some studies found evidence to support music increasing endurance and adherence to activity, improving blood flow and helping the heart rate and blood pressure return to a normal resting state faster after exercise, and reducing exercise-perceived exertion, helping you get more out of your workout.

With all these awesome benefits, why not press play on your favorite song the next time you exercise, work around the house, or wind down after a long day before bed? Or, take a music based class in the Spann Wellness Center! The Spann Wellness Team offers a class for tapping, line dancing, and a cardio and strength rhythm-based class, and new to the schedule is a music opportunity that allows for any style of dance. Also, the Trinity Woods Chorus starts again in April. Make sure you check out the Wellness Calendar for class days and times.

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