How to Put Your Heart in a Happy Place with Music
By Sandy Schroeder
Most of us pay attention when the health of the heart comes up, but we may be missing one of the simplest ways to boost our heart’s health.
Julie Corliss, executive editor of Harvard Heart Letter, says researchers have found music may actually help boost heart health as it sparks a mood. Think of your favorite upbeat tunes. Now imagine your heart moving to that beat and smiling!
Many different studies have shown how music alters the brain to boost the heart. Here are some of the things music can do.
- Relax arteries to improve blood vessel function
- Keep people exercising longer on treadmills or stationary bikes
- Ease anxiety in heart attack survivors
- Restore normal heart rate and blood pressure levels more quickly
- Reduce pain and anxiety after heart surgery
How This Works for You
The pleasurable effects of music actually may do some specific things to help your heart at home and at work.
- Trigger release of brain chemicals to make you feel motivated
- Control heartbeat rate and respiration
- Lower the heart and breathing rate and blood pressure
- Ease pain, stress and worries
Choose Your Music
You may want to have your music available throughout the day whenever you need to let go of stress or get motivated. Researchers tell us there is no other stimulus that engages the brain as completely as music. You may just listen, sing, or play an instrument to get all of the benefits.
Enjoy your music on your own as you head out for a walk, or at home when you entertain friends and family. Nothing sets the mood faster than music. My yoga instructor is a master at this. She starts the class with a soft background of jazz, and then moves on through an assortment of instrumental selections as we move through the poses. As we concentrate on movement and breath, the music helps us stay focused. Finally, at the end of class, as we all move into corpse pose, flat on our backs, she plays another soft closing selection. I can’t imagine the class working without these selections.
To make music work for you, keep some on hand wherever you go and watch what happens. It’s hard not to smile when your favorite tunes come on.
Just make sure the music fits you. Researchers tested two groups using rock and classical music, and then switched the selections. Not surprising, when their favorite rock or classical selections were played, participants relaxed and their body responded with lowered pulse and blood pressure. However, the benefits soon disappeared when they were exposed to unfamiliar music.
As long as the music suits you, the effects should all be good, assuming you keep the decibel level in a safe range.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Goodyear, Ariz.