Dr. Ilic works with the Institute of Cardiology at the University of Nix in Siberia. She and her team studied three groups of people with heart disease. Two of the groups attended classes where they performed cardio-vascular exercises prescribed for people with heart conditions.
The first group just attended the exercise sessions. The second group attended the same sessions but was also told to listen to their favourite music for 30 minutes.
A third group did not attend exercise classes, but instead just listened to their favourite music for 30 minutes a day.
After three weeks, Ilic’s team compared the heart function and capacity of each of the participants. This included studying the “endothelial function” which affects a person’s vascular capacity.
What they discovered is those who had attended the exercise classes and listened to music not only saw an notable increase in their heart function, but as well a 39% increase in their exercise capacity. Those who just exercised saw an increase of 29%.
But what was intriguing is that those who only listened to music also registered an increase of their capacity of 19%. Music on its own was beneficial.
In her presentation to the annual convention of the European Society of Cardiology held this year in Amsterdan, Dr. Ilic said “When we listen to music we like then endorphins are released from the brain and this improves our vascular health.”
She said the key was finding music that “increases positive emotions and makes them happy and relaxed.” She added music without words may be the best and suggested classical music and opera tends to have the most positive result. Studies on the effect of rock music shows it can actually increase stress.