“One good thing about music, is when it hits you, you feel no pain.” –Bob Marley
The average person may assume the Reggae pioneer is referencing emotional pain. However, research suggests that music not only helps us cope with a broken heart, it can also benefit our physical health in numerous ways.
- 1. Ease pain. Music can meaningfully reduce the perceived intensity of pain, especially in geriatric care, intensive care, or palliative medicine (an area of healthcare that focuses on preventing and relieving the suffering of patients).
- 2. Motivate people to bike harder. A study of healthy male college students found that, while riding stationary bicycles, the participants worked harder while listening to fast music. Extra bonus: They also enjoyed the music more.
- 3. Improve running motivation and performance. Here’s an easy way to beat your best time if you’re a runner: Listen to your favorite “pump-up” music. Listening to music may help people run faster, boost their workout motivation, and enhance their endurance.
- 4. Increase workout endurance. Listening to those top workout tracks can boost physical performance and increase endurance during a tough exercise session. This works partly through the power of distraction: When we’re focusing on a favorite album, we may not notice that we just ran an extra mile.
- 5. Speed up post-workout recovery. One study found that listening to music after a workout can help the body recover faster. While slow music produced a greater relaxation effect post-exercise, it seems that any kind of music can help the physical recovery process.
- 6. Improve sleep quality. Listening to classical music has been shown to effectively treat insomnia in college students, making it a safe, cheap alternative to sleep-inducing meds.
- 7. Help people eat less. One study found that playing soft music (and dimming the lights) during a meal can help people slow down while eating and ultimately consume less food in one sitting (perhaps because slowing down helps them to be more mindful of fullness cues).
- 8. Enhance blood vessel function. Scientists have found that the emotions patients experience while listening to music have a healthy effect on blood vessel function. Music both made study participants feel happier and resulted in increased blood flow in their blood vessels.
These amazing benefits are the reason UNIVERSO, an initiative sponsored by Foundations of East Chicago, introduces students to various art forms including orchestra and symphonic band music.