Are you a lover of music? I sure am. Albert Einstein once said: “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician.”
As a young child, I took lots of piano lessons on our ancient and not-very-well-tuned piano. I was never very good, even though I did learn how to read a little bit of music. I could play some basic tunes. I loved playing simple Christmas carols and singing along while I played. Trust me, my singing voice was never very good either.
That may have been as far as my musical “career” went, but my love of music was born and was never lost. The first album (now called vinyl) I bought was Cher’s album “Half Breed.” It was $5 and I still remember how hard I worked to save that money and how proud I was when I purchased it. I must have listened to that album a thousand times.
Fast forward to when Fleetwood Mac’s album (of that same name) came out in 1975. Oh, that album was truly special and sparked a lifetime fan in me — one I passed down to our daughters. Our oldest daughter has a tiny Maltese named Stevie Nicks.
Because I had three older brothers who also loved music, I learned to appreciate music you might not expect a young girl to like — The Allman Brothers, The Eagles, Van Halen, Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, just to name a few. I used to sneak into their rooms and borrow their albums all of the time.
In high school and college, I learned how beneficial classical music was while you are studying. Classical music was not foreign to me as it might have been to most young people because I took ballet lessons from the time I was 2 years old and we always danced to the classics.
So how awesome to find out that not only is music so uplifting, it is also terrific for your overall health. Here are some of the top benefits for your health and just more reasons to listen to music every single day.
• You are happier when you listen to music. Studies show when you are listening to music, your brain releases dopamine which makes you feel good.
• Runners and other athletes who listen to music while exercising are able to run faster and achieve better results.
• Studies show when you listen to music, your stress level is lower and can possibly even boost your immune system.
• Have trouble going to sleep? Studies show that if you listen to classical music 45 minutes before you go to bed, you are likely to go to sleep faster and stay asleep longer.
• Studies show if you suffer from depression, and many who do also suffer from insomnia, music may help alleviate both problems.
• Music may help you eat less. For real? Yes. Some studies show that by listening to soft music and dimming the lights, you might eat less and not even miss the extra calories.
• Do you get frustrated while driving in crazy traffic? Who doesn’t? Studies show that when you are listening to your favorite tunes, you are likely to have an elevated mood instead of being frustrated.
• Music can help strengthen your learning abilities and memory. When I was in high school and college, I almost always listened to classical music while studying. I do think it helped.
• Studies have shown that music relaxes patients before surgery and helps decrease anxiety after surgery as well. Numerous famous surgeons say they always play classical music while they are performing surgery as it helps them relax and strengthens their concentration.
• Music may help reduce pain in those who suffer from chronic conditions. In addition, some studies show listening to music may help stroke patients recover faster.
• Other recent studies show listening to music may help Alzheimer’s patients with memories — try playing their favorite songs from their past.
• Listening to music may also increase verbal intelligence in young children. Some studies show that music may also raise the IQ and academic performance in young children — especially those who not only listen to music, but also sing and play a musical instrument.
• Perhaps most importantly, some studies say listening to music helps keep your brain healthy.
Plato once said: “Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.”
Whether you want to relax or rev up your exercise routine, music is certainly your friend.
South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.