For heart patients, exercising to their favorite music provides a one-two punch that significantly boosts their cardiac function and recovery, new research shows.
In a study presented to a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Amsterdam this week, Serbian researchers found significant health benefits — specifically improvement in endothelial function, a key measure of heart health — in patients with coronary artery disease who listened to music while exercising.
"Exercise training has been shown to improve endothelial function and is the cornerstone of a multifaceted program of cardiovascular rehabilitation," said lead researcher Marina Deljanin Ilic. "However, little is known about the role of music in cardiovascular rehabilitation or the effects of listening to favorite music on endothelial function."
For the study, researchers tracked changes in circulating blood markers of endothelial function of 74 heart patients as they exercised, listened to music, or did both simultaneously for 30 minutes a day.
After three weeks, patients who exercised or listened to music had measureable improvements in their heart function, but those who did engaged in both activities had even greater benefits.
"The combination of music and exercise training led to the most improvement in endothelial function. Improvements in endothelial function were associated with significant improvements in exercise capacity," Deljanin Ilic said."The vascular health benefits of music may be due to endorphins or endorphin-like compounds released from the brain when we hear music we like."
She added that the music-exercise combo might be a useful addition to conventional CAD rehabilitation programs.
"There is no an 'ideal' music for everybody and patients should choose music which increases positive emotions and makes them happy or relaxed," she said.
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