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Tag: heart health

Music Helps Improve Heart Health

Studies show that music not only boosts one’s mood, but also helps overall wellness–and may improve heart health. “There is no other stimulus on earth that simultaneously engages our brains as widely as music does,” says Brian Harris, certified neurologic music therapist at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. In addition to engaging the auditory system, music also activates many other parts of the brain, including those responsible for movement, language, attention, memory, and emotion. Harris notes that this global activation happens when listening to music, playing an instrument, or even informally singing in the car or shower.

Music can also alter brain chemistry, and these changes may produce cardiovascular benefits, as evidenced by a number of different studies. Studies have found that listening to music may:

  • Enable people to exercise longer during cardiac stress testing done on a treadmill or stationary bike
  • Improve blood vessel function by relaxing arteries
  • Help heart rate and blood pressure levels to return to baseline more quickly after physical exertion
  • Ease anxiety in heart attack survivors
  • Help people recovering from heart surgery to feel less pain and anxiety.

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The Harms from Cigarette Smoking

A large study from the BMJ indicates that smokers must quit cigarettes, rather than simply cut back on them, to significantly lower their risk of heart disease and stroke.

Statistics demonstrated that those who smoked even one cigarette each day were still about 50% more likely to develop CVD, and 30% more likely to have a stroke, than people who had never smoked.

Cardiovascular disease, not cancer, is the greatest mortality risk for smoking, causing about 48% of smoking-related premature deaths. While the percentage of adults in the UK who smoked had been falling, the proportion of people who smoked one to five cigarettes a day had been rising steadily, researchers said.

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