Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Music and Comedy Could Save Your Life

What if you could skip the gym and go to music or comedy shows instead? The Toronto Star is reporting that a new study from Dr. Michael Miller (University of Maryland) shows that music and laughter can have the same positive effects for your heart as exercise:
""Wouldn't it be nice to be able to know that if you listen to music two or three times a week ..... you get the same benefit as exercise," says Miller, director of the school's Centre for Preventive Cardiology. Miller presented his findings at a meeting of the American Heart Association in New Orleans."
The study also suggests that comedy (or at least laughter) produces a similar effect. The basic idea is that how and how well you deal with stress has a profound impact on your health:
"In the experiment, researchers asked 10 people - seven men and three women - to bring in music that made them feel good, and that made them anxious. After listening to enjoyable music for half an hour they were tested for arterial expansion, which helps the heart by allowing an easier follow of blood through the body.
"Well, lo and behold, there was about a 26 per cent increase in the diameter of the blood vessels," Miller says. "That's along the same lines as you would expect after you took a (cholesterol-fighting) statin medication. This is pretty profound," he says."
So, hit the record stores, the comedy clubs, and go out to live shows - it just may save your life.

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