How music can promote a Happy Heart

With Happy Heart week coming upon us from 21st to 27th September, we are reminded about the many ways in which we can maintain and improve our cardiovascular health. So how can you use music to promote heart health? Here are some ideas:

Listen to your favourite music. Research has shown that listening to music that you enjoy is good for you. Also, it is a person’s musical preference which is more important than the style of music. So, one person’s Mozart may be another’s Led Zepplin!

Listen to joyful music. Research at the University of Maryland, presented in November 2008, found that listening to joyful music dilates the blood vessels and so increases blood flow. 1

Play a musical instrument…quality of playing is not important (although your neighbours may not agree!).

Harness music’s ‘entrainment’ powers to relax or energise you. The phenomenon of ‘entrainment’ is the way in which we gradually come into synchrony with something repetitive, for example walking in step with another person. Music is an effective medium for entrainment. You start off with how you’re feeling currently and gradually move towards how you want to feel and the music brings you along this process. So, if you’re just in the door from work, you may want lively upbeat music initially, which gradually winds down to a more moderate pace, and finally to some slow, relaxing, repetitive music. You can use the exact same idea in reverse if you are looking to create music to energise you.

1. University of Maryland Medical Center (2008, November 12). Joyful Music May Promote Heart Health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2008/11/081111182904.htm

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