Music, Your Mind and Anti-Aging Treatment
B.B. King bought his first guitar when he was 12 years old, and in the 75 years since then, he’s become one of the most influential and well-known musicians in the world. At 87 years old, King still performs about 100 concerts each year, bringing the same vigor and individuality to his music as he did when he first inspired guitarists like Eric Clapton decades ago.
B.B. King is only one example of artists who retain the mental sharpness to play virtuosic music into their 80s. But how do musicians like King keep their minds so strong with the passing years?
According to research, part of the answer may lie in the music they’ve played for their entire lives. As you go through anti-aging treatment, music may be a valuable tool when it comes to keeping your mind sharp and healthy.
Music Makes the Mind Grow Stronger
In one study at the University of Kansas, researchers found that people who played music as children had improved brain function later in life. Because playing music is such a challenging mental activity, researchers believe that playing music as a child, and continuing to play throughout life, can make the brain stronger and better able to resist the declining cognitive aptitude that often comes with aging.
The study tested the cognitive processing, memory and brain function of people aged 60 to 83 with varying levels of musical experience. Researchers found that those with at least 10 years of musical experience did better on tests of things like:
- Nonverbal memory
- Naming objects
- Managing time
- Adapting to new information
The longer a person played music and the earlier they began to learn, the more beneficial effects researchers noticed. These benefits were even clear in those who had learned to play music as children and never played again as adults.
Because studies have so far only found benefits for people who began playing music as children, it isn’t yet clear if learning to play an instrument for the first time as an adult will help. However, because playing music is such an intellectually stimulating activity, it may be a worthwhile hobby during anti-aging treatment regardless of your past musical experience, akin to other brain-boosting activities like reading or doing crossword puzzles.