Sing, dance, move to the beat: It's all good for mood, memory and more.
If you want to do something good for your brain, turn on your music player and sing along to a few songs. Better yet, sing and dance at the same time.
It sounds like a simple exercise, but, really, it's a full brain workout. That's because music stimulates many areas of the brain, including those responsible for memory, movement and mood, according to a new report from the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH). Music even gets different parts of the brain working together simultaneously.
How Music Can Keep Your Brain Healthy
And all that brain activation translates into some serious health benefits. Researchers have found that music can improve sleep and sharpen memory, as well as reduce stress and stimulate thinking skills — all of which are good for maintaining brain health as we age.
Music boosts mood, inspires movement
When music hits your ears, the sound waves are translated into nerve impulses that travel to several areas of the brain, including those that release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in pleasure, explains Psyche Loui, an assistant professor in the department of music at Northeastern University and director of the Music, Imaging and Neural Dynamics (MIND) Laboratory.
8 Ways to Turn On the Power of Music
1. Put music in your life, and share it with friends and family. Music may improve well-being, including quality of life.
2. Dance, sing or move to music for exercise, stress relief, social connections and brain stimulation.
3. Listen to familiar music that comforts you and evokes positive memories and associations.
4. Try listening to new music, too. Unfamiliar melodies may stimulate your brain.
5. Listen to music to encourage yourself to exercise. Music can provide a mental boost and help motivate you to move your body.
6. Get your hearing checked. Correcting hearing loss is important for maintaining brain health, preserving cognitive function and enjoying music.
7. Make music yourself by singing or playing an instrument.
8. Make music with other people. Try joining or forming a community choir, a band or an orchestra.