While many people love music as a form of entertainment, there are a number of reasons that music can be good for your health as well.

After a stressful week, one way to rest and recharge your batteries is to go to a concert or local establishment that offers live music. Maybe the music plays as part of an excellent music playlist or through a jukebox. Whether you simply tap your foot to engage in the sights and sounds and sing along or just sit and listen, participating in an active music scene can be an entertaining and mentally healing way to spend an evening.

Although major concerts and local venues are a draw in our area and fun way to go out and surround yourself with people with similar musical tastes, sometimes you can get the same musically healing moments just by singing your favorite songs. The benefits of singing are just as prevalent whether singing in a crowd or singing by yourself when you are in the car, the shower or wherever you are in the need of a spirit builder.

The benefits of singing no doubt contribute to its rise in popularity. According to a recent study by Chorus America, a national organization to develop and promote professional, volunteer and youth choruses, found that an estimated 42.6 million Americans regularly sing in choruses today. More than 1 in 5 households have at least one singing family member. Are you the “singer” in your household? Is the singer in your family healthier than you?

Here's a look at other reasons to embrace your inner singer and sing your favorite tunes for a healthier you:

• Singing can be both a way to relax and a way to elevate the feelings. Studies have shown that endorphins associated with feelings of pleasure may be released when singing.

• Singing can be a social activity, which helps people feel part of a group and part of a larger purpose. Those who normally feel isolated can use singing as a way to meet new people.

• Learning to sing has mental benefits as well and could help to improve cognition. Experts say learning to sing songs from beginning to end improves reading skills and motor skills by developing the coordination between the brain and body.

• Singing is an exercise that can work major muscle groups in the upper body and midsection. Add a little dance movement to your mix and you may have a nice low-impact work out set to a musical beat.

• Thanks to its psychological and physical benefits, singing may help prolong one's life. Singing exercises the lungs and heart, and can release endorphins.

• Music has also been shown to enhance memory and stimulate both sides of the brain, which may help individuals suffering from forms of cognitive impairments. Some researchers think that music may help improve immune response, which can lead to promoting faster recovery from illness.

• Another way music has been linked to improved health is its ability to make physical activity seem less mundane. Listening to songs can distract one from the task at hand, pushing focus onto the music rather than the hard work being done. When exercising, upbeat music can help a person go a little further than working out without music.

Plato said, "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything." Music is a big part of so many people's lives. So why not Listen Up! and sing more? I have always believed in the healing power of music and now how it can help us lead healthier lives.

The benefits of music extend beyond enjoying a favorite song, as music can do much more to contribute to our overall health.

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