Why Science Says You Should Attend Dubai Music Week
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Why Science Says You Should Attend Dubai Music Week

8 ways that music can help maintain and improve your health, and the science behind them.

Why Science Says You Should Attend Dubai Music Week

With Dubai Music Week mere days away, we take the opportunity to explore some of the strange, weird and wonderful ways that music can help maintain your health and allow you to get more out of your life.

From the 17 of September, the Dubai Trade Centre plays host to Dubai Music Week: a four-day celebration of music showcasing a range of talented international artists performing live in the largest lifestyle and music related exhibition and conference in the region. With a range of the world’s finest speakers, performers and an unrivalled music expo coming to Dubai, this is the place to be for music fans anywhere in the UAE.  

In the past the event has hosted the likes of international superstars Selena Gomez, Will.I.Am and Timbaland, as well as a range of the best local musicians from the region, and the 2014 Dubai Music Week is shaping up to be an even greater spectacle. With this exciting event right around the corner, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore some of the surprising health benefits of music.

Listening to music daily reduces stress

A dissertation in psychology from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg has shown that there is a correlation between daily music listening and lowered levels of stress. Participants in the experimental group experienced more intense and positive feelings whilst listening to music, when compared with the control group. Other studies have found that these effects can be mirrored through playing an instrument or singing along with music.

Listening to fast paced music improves your workout

Scientists at the Liverpool John Moores University studied the effects of listening to music and how it affected healthy male college students riding stationary bikes. The participants listened to music whilst riding at a self-chosen pace for 25 minutes, and when the tempo of the music was increased their workout increased, meaning that there was a positive correlation between their output and the music that they were listening to. As a sidenote, people not only worked harder to faster music but chose to do so, and tended to enjoy it more. But music isn’t just great for improving the intensity of your workout…

Listening to music can help speed up recovery time after a workout

Whilst listening to the right type of music can improve your workout, listening to calming music can actually help runners recover after a 5 kilometre run. In the research carried out by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, internal systems such as runners’ heart rates returned to normal more quickly when the runners listened to down tempo music after exercising.

Music can improve the quality of your sleep

A recent study of 94 students aged 19 to 28 who complained of sleep issues trialled the use of classical music, audiobooks and silence as a means to drift off to sleep. The study concluded that classical music was the most effective intervention in reducing sleeping problems. It is a cheap and effective means of improving sleep quality without the use of habit-forming pills or other invasive sleeping aids.

Playing music can assist in staving off dementia

Whilst science has yet to uncover all of the mysteries surrounding dementia, preliminary advice from scientists has been to stay active, have hobbies and be socially engaged. Individuals that have played music across their life were used as subjects in studies by Hanna-Pladdy, an Emory neuropsychologist. In a recent study, findings have suggested that people playing an instrument, and especially those that played an instrument for more than 10 years, experience better cognitive function with advanced age.

Music can improve your memory

Music has a profound influence on our memories. Just think of how quickly you can be transported back to a moment in time after hearing a particular song. Scientists, intrigued with this connection between music and memory have undertaken numerous studies in the area. Listening to music at a certain tempo, such as Mozart’s music and baroque music that has 60 beats per minute, activates both the left and right hemispheres of the brain, maximizing learning and retention of information. Even just listening to music enhances spatial IQ, which serves to increase both short and long term memory -- and playing music increases this effect. In clinical trials, trained musicians have been shown to score better on word memory tests than non-musicians. This effect is even more pronounced in children where clear evidence has shown that youngsters who take musical lessons develop a better memory compared with children who have had no musical training.

Music can help boost your immunity

Scientific literature has shown that music can boost the human immune system, helping the body stave off disease. Researchers at Brighton’s University of Sussex discovered that after listening to just 50 minutes of uplifting dance music, the participants’ levels of antibodies noticeably increased. Levels of cortisol, a hormone with physiological effects related to obesity and stress, decreased. After listening, levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A, the body’s first line of defence, were heightened. In fact, a review of over 400 scientific papers in 2013 found that music may be better than prescription medication in some cases.

Music improves mood and helps fight depression

Studies carried out at the Drexel University discovered that cancer patients who either worked with a music therapist or listened to music experienced a reduction in anxiety, improved moods and improved blood pressure. But it doesn’t require a horrific illness like cancer to know the calmative and restorative effects of hearing your favourite song and how it can help elevate you out of a poor mood or depressive state.


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