Whether you’re picking up a guitar for the first time or just practicing your craft, you’re not just improving your musical prowess – you’re also taking steps toward better health!
Many scientific studies have found physical health benefits correspond with playing guitar or just being around music in general.
Similar benefits to physical exercise
Hitting the gym is great for your health – and so is hitting your instrument!
A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that active music-making has training effects similar to those from physical exercise training. Researchers compared two groups of healthy people between ages 18 and 30, about half of whom were music students. They were tested for resting heart rate and blood pressure and baroreflex sensitivity. The study found that blood pressure was “significantly” lower in the group of music students, and they also tended to have a lower heart rate than the non-musicians.
“Our study opens a new perspective, in which active music making, additionally to being an artistic activity, renders concrete health benefits for the musician,” the researchers wrote.
A study from the University of Utah Pain Research Center found that engaging activities – like listening to music – can help reduce pain in people with high levels of anxiety who can become easily absorbed in activities. The researchers hypothesized that music can help divert cognitive focus from pain.
The researchers conducted the study on 143 people who listened to songs and were asked to identify wrong notes, while also getting shocked by fingertip electrodes.
“Music helps reduce pain by activating sensory pathways that compete with pain pathways, stimulating emotional responses, and engaging cognitive attention. Music, therefore, provided meaningful intellectual and emotional engagement to help reduce pain,” the study concluded.
Keeping the mind sharp
Learning a musical instrument as a child can help safeguard against cognitive decline in old age. A study by the Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology found that in a group of adults aged 60 to 80, those who played an instrument for at least ten years during their lives performed better on several cognitive tests than those who had never learned an instrument or how to read music. None of the subjects were professional musicians.
“The study confirms that musical activity preserves cognition as we age, by comparing variability in cognitive outcomes of older adults active in musical instrumental and other leisure activities,” said lead researcher Brenda Hanna-Pladdy.
Even if you’re older, there are benefits to learning an instrument.
We can all use a little stress relief in our lives! A study published by the International Journal of Music Education found that college students who spent 30 minutes either playing the piano, molding clay or doing calligraphy had “markedly” decreased cortisol levels, indicating a reduction in stress. Students in the group that played piano had significantly greater results than the students who had clay or calligraphy as their creative activity!
Find some “peace of mind” by trying our song lesson on Boston’s Peace of Mind here!
You can start learning guitar today with Fret Zealot. Choose from thousands of video lessons, over 80,000 song tracks, 10,000 chords, and more.