Belt Out a Song for Better Health

Interesting article briefly summarizing singing benefits described  in a book by Michael Miller M.D., called Heal Your Heart:

‘Opening our mouths for a bite of the proverbial “apple a day” has its place—but to really keep the doctor away, we should open wide and let out some songs. Why? Because singing has numerous health benefits, recent research shows. And the rewards are ours even if we warble off-key or forget half the lyrics.’

As Dr. Miller explains, bursting into song can:

  • Make you happier and more relaxed
  • Promote cardiovascular health
  • Provide aerobic and respiratory benefits
  • Build strength
  • Think of the world as your stage
  • Be a songwriter
  • Join a musical group
  • Try karaoke
  • Go “caroling” – any time of year

The whole article.

There are also benefits for our heart’s health, which include eliciting positive emotions and easing stress. Dr. Miller writes in his book: “Musical taste aside, it’s clear that music of any genre has a physiological effect not only on heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate, but also on the lining of our blood vessels. The endothelium, that barometer of emotions, dilates to the music the listener finds joyful and constricts during music that provokes the stress response.” There are three ways that music benefits our heart:

  1. Heart Rate Variability – Music can help train your HRV to be more adaptive. Your heart gets used to changing its rate based on the tempo of the music that you are listening. And thus gets used to being more flexible.
  2. Inflammation – Researchers have begun to look into how music can have anti-inflammatory effects on the heart. And they have come to the conclusion that soothing music can improve parasympathetic tone and reduce episodes of congestive heart failure.
  3. Faster Recovery – Dr. Miller discusses a number of studies including one in particular that involved patients who were allowed to listen to their choice of music while undergoing heart surgery. The postoperative time spent in the surgical ICU for those assigned to music was reduced from nearly 28 hours to 22 hours. At first glance, this may not seem like a much shorter period of time, but if you are a patient, the quicker you can be moved out of the ICU to a quieter and more private area, the closer you are to recovery, hospital discharge, and rehabilitation.

The whole article.

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