“Music is the medicine of the mind,” as an old saying goes … and according to recent research, that still rings true today. Making music (and enjoying it with others) can reduce stress, improve mental health, and keep your memory sharp.
But while there’s plenty of evidence for how many benefits music can offer, researchers are just beginning to understand why.
“Brain pathways – and even whole networks – are strengthened when they’re used and weakened when they’re not used,” writes Dr. Andrew E. Budson for Harvard Medical School. “The brain is efficient – it isn’t going to bother keeping a brain pathway strong when it hasn’t been used for many years.”
However, music can prevent that loss of connectivity over time. When you listen to a song, a wide range of neural networks work in concert to understand elements like tune and tempo – giving you a “whole-brain” workout.
For example: Are you enjoying the melody? That’s your auditory cortex helping you process pitches and beats, while your brain’s reward center (the nucleus accumbens) releases a rush of dopamine. Are you tapping your toe to the beat? You can thank your cerebellum, the part of your mind that handles muscle memory.
“Music can activate almost all brain regions and networks,” says Dr. Budson. “It can help to keep a myriad of brain pathways and networks strong, including those involved in well-being, learning, cognitive function, quality of life, and happiness.”
Interested in “tuning in” to the benefits of music? Here are three ways to get started:
- Learn to sing or play an instrument. Contrary to popular myth, it’s never too late to learn. Plus, when you practice a musical hobby, you can enjoy the benefits of a unique intellectual challenge – one that’s proven to boost cognitive ability throughout life.
- Set music in motion. Whether you’re going for a whirl on the dance floor … or working out to upbeat tunes, music and movement go hand in hand. If you’re looking for new ways to stay active, consider signing up for classes in salsa, swing, or ballroom dance, or following along to a “dance fitness” workout.
- Harmonize with others. Socializing with friends offers almost as many advantages as music – so why not combine the two? Share the fun (and the health benefits) by joining a choir, band, or group music class.
If you’re ready for a lifestyle filled with more creativity and culture – but without the hassles of home maintenance or healthcare worries – The Mayflower hits all the right notes. Situated in beautiful downtown Winter Park, our campus offers a wealth of cultural opportunities from the comfort of home… as well as convenient access to Central Florida’s world-class music, art, and entertainment.
Does that strike a chord with you? Pay us a visit! With a selection of stylish and surprisingly affordable apartments – and our new Bristol Landing expansion under construction – you’ll have all the options you need for a vibrant, stimulating lifestyle.
Give us a call at 407.672.1620 or send us a message to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!