Music can have a powerful impact on our mood, signaling the brain to release feel-good and energy-boosting chemicals. While earlier studies have looked at how music might influence specific markers of heart health, this study is the first to evaluate its impact on exercise tolerance during cardiac stress testing–widely used to measure the effects of exercise on the heart. On average, people who listened to music during the test were able to exercise for almost one minute longer than those who didn’t have tunes playing in their ears.
“At least on a small scale, this study provides some evidence that music may help serve as an extra tool to help motivate someone to exercise more, which is critical to heart health,” said Waseem Shami, MD, a cardiology fellow at Texas Tech University Health Sciences in El Paso, Texas, and the study’s lead author. “I think it’s something we intuitively knew, but we found [to be true]. I suspect if it had been a larger study, we’d see a bigger difference.”