they say an apple a day keeps the doctor away…
…How about playing the Ukulele?
In the last decade there has been a massive growth in research over the benefits of group musical activity. We got in touch with one of these researchers, a Dr Jacques Launey of Brunel University:
“While singers have known for a long time that singing is a great activity, scientists are catching up, and working out what causes such positive effects”
Physiologically we now have strong evidence that:
- Singing leads to a reduction in cortisol.
- Singing can lead to an increase in immunoglobulin A.
- Singing leads to activation of a whole network of cytokines, which are also involved in our immune response.
- Emerging evidence for changes in oxytocin and endorphin levels.
She continues: “At a psychological level, singing increases positive mood and decreases stress. In addition to these psychological and physiological effects, evidence suggests that singing is an especially good social bonding activity, and music could even have evolved specifically to help humans create communities.
Recent reviews into health suggest a strong community is one of the most important predictors of how long people live (better even than quitting smoking!), so anything that strengthens social relationships is very important to our wellbeing.
Taken together this evidence shows that musical activity in a group is effective because it increases happiness, decreases stress, and makes us socially connected – all of this leads to a stronger immune response, and reduced risk of health problems”