3 ways music is beneficial to your health

Given the deep connection that most of us have with music, it should come as no surprise that researchers around the world continue to investigate music's therapeutic benefits. Besides being enjoyable to listen to, music can help to improve walking speed, reduce anxiety around hospital stays, and improve overall behavioural issues in people with dementia. Music is a safe, simple, and inexpensive strategy; however, it continues to be an underused tool. Whether for yourself, or a loved one, consider incorporating more music into your everyday life and enjoy the many benefits it provides.


Music can improve walking speed

Walking speed and “gait” (pattern and manner of walking) are important for optimal aging. Whether you realize it or not, you may be training yourself for a longer, healthier, and more active lifestyle by listening to music while you walk.


Music can help ease your hospital stay

Despite remarkable medical advancements, surgery can be scary, and time spent in hospital will likely be challenging. Music therapy is a safe, non-invasive and inexpensive complement to medical treatments. It can help lower anxiety and pain for patients and may also ease depression and fatigue.


Music can improve social and mental well-being in older adults with dementia and their caregivers

Studies show that listening to music allows older adults with dementia to be calmer, which indirectly helps to reduce caregivers’ levels of stress. Group music therapy sessions led by a trained music therapist also help reduce caregivers’ anxiety by allowing them to express and share their feelings. What’s more, music can enhance the relationship between a caregiver and an older adult with dementia, allowing them to enjoy a common activity that is pleasant.


To read more about music’s benefits in each of these three areas, see our featured resources below.

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DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of new and old blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with changing public health recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.