IF music be the food of love, it would be an all-you-can-eat buffet.
That is according to academic Dr Julia Jones, who says it can improve fitness and brain power — and even help you live longer.
After 20 years of researching the positive effects of music and working with Olympic athletes to improve their performances, Dr Jones — also known as Dr Rock — has come up with a “music diet” that she believes everyone should start feasting on.
She said: “Get more music in your life every day and you will see immediate results. It improves brain function, encourages and enhances physical activity and social engagement.
“It can also stave off degenerative illnesses associated with ageing.
“This is the one diet you will happily stay on for life.
“At its simplest you could just listen to more radio.
“Even if you’re not dancing around to the music and it’s only background, your brain is still processing the sounds. It doesn’t matter what you listen to as it all gives your brain a workout.
“However, research indicates that new music can give the brain a greater workout.
“It challenges the brain to process unfamiliar songs and create new memories for future reference.
“A diet of daily music through listening, singing, dancing, performing, creating or exercising will produce astounding results.”
Dr Jones’s research has found that synchronising music to exercise can enhance performance.
In tests with cyclists, those that peddled to the beat of music performed better.
CHOICE OF CHAMPIONS
Top athletes have also spoken of the effects of music. Tennis champ Andy Murray has praised Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud for its calming quality.
Meanwhile British Olympic cyclist Laura Trott enjoys the upbeat No Surrender by Bruce Springsteen.
Dr Jones encourages employees to listen to music in the workplace to improve health and has just launched Music At Work Week, which will take place from November 25.
She said: “Up-tempo music can lift mood, distract from fatigue and boredom and improve results.
“If you suffer from pain, depression or anxiety, there is growing scientific evidence that music can make a positive impact.
“There is also proof of the positive impact it can have on pain management, sleep disorders, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, brain development and more.
“Music improves our language skills and maths skills — arguably two of the most important factors for any career.
“And most people will notice that they feel more toned and stronger after a few weeks of general dancing or exercising to music.”
Music has even been credited with helping to combat loneliness, which the World Health Organisation says is becoming a modern epidemic.
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