The Connection Between Music and Anti-Aging
Music is one of those things that seems strangely bound up in what it means to be human. Most of us tend to have some attraction to one genre or another. They speak to us on some level that is hard to explain. While this isn’t true of everyone, it appears common enough that many mental health professionals advise using music to help cope with stress. That means there are clear and discernible benefits to keeping music in our lives already. It turns out they may be just that much larger than most of us suspected though. Researchers have discovered that those who play music may benefit from their more intimate connection to music well into the later parts of their lives. The simple act of learning and maintaining the ability helps to fight some of the invisible signs of aging. How though? We’re taking a closer look at the true magic in music so that you know the potential benefits.
There are multiple benefits to having learned to play a bit of music earlier in your life or beginning to take it up. The research shows that there is a clear cognitive benefit to practicing music. Music is a complex undertaking that requires balancing memory and motor skills to achieve the desired results. This, in many ways, makes it an incredibly good exercise for the mind. Using it in such a way means things are tested, used, and worked on instead of being allowed to lay there and atrophy. This is an important part of helping to maintain cognitive health as we age. Additionally, studies have shown that there appears to be a more direct and physical benefit as well. People who’ve practiced music tend to have greater reaction times as they age. They’re better able to notice, analyze, and respond to a situation by comparison to their peers that haven’t. Why do these benefits exist though?
For The Benefit of Cognition
As we highlighted above, playing music exercises the mind. Your mind needs to be regularly used in a way that challenges it to keep it active and healthy. These constant challenges don’t need to be frustrating, but they do need to require a bit of effort. That’s why many experts in human cognition encourage people to take up and maintain hobbies as they age. Engaging in them does just that. Furthermore, learning a new skill is even better in this regard. It engages your mind with novelty and makes your work to understand and commit something new to memory. Music is perfect for this. You can learn an instrument or, if you already know one, work towards learning a new song to achieve many of the same benefits. The exercise for your mind you gain this way is just as important as the exercise you can do to keep your body in shape.
It is quite clear how playing music can help keep your mind limber, but how does it keep your body just that little bit more limber? The reasons are more or less the same. Music necessarily means you need to react to one thing after another in a carefully coordinated sequence. If a note is off speed, you can hear the music falter. Playing it is practice that helps maintain one’s physical responsiveness to various stimuli. It doesn’t hurt that having a more agile mind also helps in this matter as it is more capable are sending information ahead of itself to encourage your body to react. Think of playing music as being a frequently practiced motion done in sequences. This prepares and maintains a particular skill that in turn becomes better able to resist any loss that comes with age. It isn’t a perfect solution, but each small benefit adds up.
Music is one of those things that it is hard to imagine a world without. Fortunately, we don’t have to even think about it. As an art, music brings great emotion and energy to people the world over and helps to maintain the body and mind of the people who play it. People who’ve been playing for years tend to receive the most benefits, but trying to learn at any age will provide long term benefits to your health and happiness.