The Surprising Health Benefits of Going to Concerts
This spring and summer marks the official return of live music in the United States! From Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado to Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas, concerts will be rocking all summer long.
Obviously, the reasons people attend concerts have little to do with the health rewards. You go to a concert because you love the music. Moreover, you love being, singing, and dancing with hundreds to thousands of other people who also love the music.
Live concerts are an epic celebration of life, nothing less. They are almost spiritual experiences of human connection that you have circled on your calendar all year long.
But we thought some of you might be interested in learning how and why going to concerts is so good for your health. So, we’ve outlined the healthy things that happen inside your body, heart, and mind while you’re listening to the music and watching the show. Here goes:
Live music is medicine for the mind
When you listen to music, especially a live concert, you’re stimulating your brain in several beneficial ways. In fact, scientists can actually see your neurochemistry being activated by music on scans. MRIs show that when people listen to music, parts of their brains light up that would otherwise remain dormant.
Specifically, studies show that when we hear music, brain-derived neurotrophic factor is released (BDNF). This promotes neurogenesis (the growth of new neurons). Basically, BDNF is Miracle Grow for our minds. And with every beautiful lyric or cord we listen to at a concert, we’re nourishing the spongy goodness that is our brain.
It reduces stress, naturally
Odds are you’ve experienced this personally. You listen to a song when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Within a matter of minutes, even seconds, you feel refreshed or, at the very least, a bit calmer than before.
There’s a scientific explanation for this. Listening to music lowers the hormone cortisol, which can cause feelings of stress and anxiety. In one study, researchers found that patients who listened to music while undergoing surgery experienced significantly less stress during the procedure, resulting in better patient outcomes. Another study showed that peoples’ heart rates, blood pressure, and respiratory rates dropped while attending a concert by a composer.
These stress-relief benefits also extend beyond the time that you’re listening to the music. As a result of decreased stress levels during the day, music can contribute directly to more restful and consistent sleep patterns. Music has even been ‘prescribed’ to treat cases of insomnia.
Music makes you happy
Music causes our brains to unleash a flood of dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating body movements and influencing our feelings of reward and motivation. In short, dopamine makes us feel really good.
It’s no surprise that music has been used to treat a range of mental illnesses, including depression. Because what is a concert but a multi-hour dopamine rush?
One study showed a 9% increase in brain dopamine levels when people listened to songs that gave them ‘the chills.’ The research highlighting this connection has become so strong and compelling that music is prescribed to people with Parkinson’s to help improve their mood and fine motor control.
“One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain”
Music makes us feel happy, yes, but it’s also a natural pain reliever. When you’re at a live concert, your brain releases endorphins, the chemicals produced by the body to relieve pain. This doesn’t mean that the pain is no longer present. It means that your perception of pain is significantly altered. You will feel less pain.
Other studies suggest that music can actually intercept pain signals in the spinal cord, before they reach the brain. Combining this benefit with the ability to reduce stress and increase feelings of happiness, live music boasts a range of benefits that do your neurochemistry serious good.
Dancing at a live concert is legitimately great exercise
If you’re at a concert and you’re doing it right -- dancing and singing all the way through the show -- then you’re essentially doing the equivalent of a two-hour cardio workout.
Moreover, once you’ve experienced the music live, you’re going to want to listen and dance to it when you’re at home. Your attachment will be that much stronger after the show. And if you play the music while you’re working out, odds are you’ll push yourself harder than you would otherwise.
Recent studies show that music enhances physical performance when exercising, leading to both longer and more effective workouts.
Live music connects you more deeply with humanity
It’s been a stressful and isolating last year, to say the least. More than ever before, maybe, people are craving human connection and celebration.
There are few experiences more joyful, positive, and communal than a concert. You’re all in harmony with one another. While you’ve traveled from different areas of the state, you’re at the show for the same reason. This shared sense of purpose and outpouring of happiness transcends the research-based benefits listed above -- it’s a human necessity. Put simply, it’s good for the soul.
Have any questions or concerns about your plan or benefits? Contact our Friday Care Crew for help! We’re here to keep you healthy and happy while doing what you love.