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Listening to music is good for the heart


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Now a study has found that in fact music can strengthen the heart - and improve the recovery of patients suffering from heart disease.

Cardiologists said the findings suggested that all people could boost the health of their hearts simply by listening to their favorite tunes.

Patients with cardiac disease were divided into three groups. Some were enrolled in exercise classes for three weeks.

Others were put in the same classes, but also told to listen to music of their choice at any point for 30 minutes every day. A third group only listened to music, and did not take cardio-vascular exercise, which is usually prescribed to those with heart disease.

At the end of the trial, the patients who had listened to music as well as exercising had boosted crucial measures of heart function significantly, and improved their exercise capacity by 39 per cent.

The group which only took aerobic exercise improved their capacity by 29 per cent. Even those who took no exercise and only listened to their favourite music for half an hour a day improved their exercise function by 19 per cent, the study of 74 patients found.

The measures of improved heart function included improved endothelial function, which is necessary to maintain the body's vascular response.

The findings, presented at the European Society of Cardiology's annual congress in Amsterdam, suggested that the release of key hormones while listening to music was behind the changes.

Prof Delijanin Ilic, the lead investigator, from the Institute of Cardiology, University of Nis, Serbia, said: "When we listen to music we like then endorphin's are released from the brain and this improves our vascular health. There is no 'best music' for everyone - what matters is what the person likes and makes them happy."

She said other studies examining the impact of music suggested there might be some types of music which were less good for the heart - with heavy metal more likely to raise stress levels, while opera, classical and other types of 'joyful' music were more likely to stimulate endorphin's.

Prof Ilic said: "It is also possible that it is better to have music without words, because it is possible that the words themselves can upset the emotions."

Although the study was carried out on patients suffering from heart disease, she said she believed the findings were likely to apply to a wider population, since it is already known that exercise boosts coronary health in healthy people.

Prof Ilic said: "Listening to favorite music alone and in addition to regular exercise training improves endothelial function and therefore may be an adjunct method in the rehabilitation of patients with coronary artery disease. There is no 'ideal' music for everybody and patients should choose music which increases positive emotions and makes them happy or relaxed."

 

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Music has always been a part of my life. I started listening to the radio in the early 50s and in the late 50 and early 60s I would sometimes tag along with my parents to the Moose Lodge or Eagles Lodge on Saturday night to those dances learning ballroom dancing from Mom. I started playing piano at age eight and picked up the flute in grade school. My sister was my number one dance partner until her death at age 27 in 1978. And yes we took Disco Dance lessons. I much stopped dancing until I met Adele and found out she was interested in dancing but never did any ballroom dancing. I taught her what I could and we took some lessons and now about every Saturday night you will find us at the Eagles Lodge in evansville doing our thing to a live band, dressed up for a night on the town. Tomorrow night is one of the Coterie of Evansville dances of which there are five a year. This is the oldest continous formal dance club in the country. I do believe that music and dancing has helped keep me fit and healthy. We can go to a German festival and Polka for several hours and those who Polka don't need aerobics.

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