That the right song can be a tonic for any emotional trial is no great secret. Whether disappearing into a well-worn album after a difficult day or cueing your power track for the gruelling final kay of your first half-marathon, music is a proven psychological prop. Go one step further, however, by pausing Spotify and dusting off the neglected Les Paul in the corner of your living room, and you could save yourself from a more literal form of heartache – the dreaded sort that isn’t often the subject of chart-toppers.
In a study published by the Netherlands Heart Journal, those who regularly sang or played instruments were noted to have better cardiovascular health than the less musically inclined. Researchers tested subjects aged 18-30 and found guitarists, singers and pianists had lower blood pressure and reduced heart rates. Playing music fires up the sensory nervous system, and the study authors believe that this gives it cardiovascular effects “resembling those of physical exercise”. Bravo!
If strumming through a rendition of Mr Tambourine Man feels beyond your capability, then simply crooning along to a tune of your choosing has benefits too. University of London research shows that giving your lungs a workout increases levels of blood oxygen while exercising major upper- body muscles. We’re calling it band aid.