Health Benefits of Playing Guitar (Backed by Science)
If you love to strum a tune, we got some good news for you. Science has discovered a number of health benefits of playing guitar on a regular basis.
Playing a six string is one of the easiest ways to make friends in college, at least if you listen to shows like Family Guy. It's a trope that has some truth in it, though. Guitar playing is something popular kids do, and if you look at most of the times people do play guitar, it does benefit them.
But, playing your guitar is not just a way to get popular, gain attention, and maybe become a rock star. Scientists have studied the health benefits of playing guitar at length—and what they've shown is that it's definitely a lot healthier than the members of Motley Crue would have you think.
Playing guitar can reduce aches and pains.
One of the most commonly cited health benefits of playing guitar is its ability to reduce pain. Something about those soulful tones really does reduce the amount of pain you feel. Or, at least, that's what the University of Utah's Pain Research Center discovered in a study on guitar health benefits.
The funny thing is that listening to guitar carries this same perk. So, just listening to the sound of yourself playing can be a good way to avoid running out of aspirin.
Playing your guitar can also help your achy, breaky heart.
There might be a reason why so many people tend to turn to guitars when they're feeling the blues. McGill University recently performed a study proving that guitar playing releases dopamine in the brain.
Dopamine is a feel-good chemical that can help people overcome sorrows of a breakup or just improve their mood. It literally triggers your brain's reward centers, making one of the better mental health benefits of playing the guitar a boosted mood.
Heartache isn't the only thing guitars can help...
Speaking of hearts, let's talk about how it can harden your heart against cardiac arrest. A research group from the Netherlands found that playing 100 minutes of music per day can significantly lower blood pressure.
Another study featured in Music Radar showed that even listening to guitars could help you reduce your blood pressure. Either way, strumming your way to heart health is a great life decision.
Studies have shown that playing a musical instrument—any instrument, will help improve grades and boost your ability to think fast. USC studies showed that kids who were given musical training have their brains develop faster.
One of the easiest ways to reap the brain-based health benefits of playing guitar is to just learn how to play it with courses from Udemy. The Complete Guitar System, for example, can teach anyone from beginners to advanced individuals how to become better at guitar. You'll learn how to play guitar like a pro and avoid common mistakes.
Overcoming stress is a huge health benefit of playing guitar you really can't overlook.
Dopamine aside, playing the guitar can be a huge stress reliever. Mind-Body Wellness Center and Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems entered a dual study to take a look at how playing the guitar.
What they found was impressive. Guitar playing reduces stress on a genomic level, meaning that it literally wipes away stress that is so severe, it imprinted itself on your genetics. This leads to an overall better ability to handle stress, reduce trauma, and just feel good. One of the health benefits of playing the drums is reducing stress, too, so your whole band will be stress-free by the end of a jam session.
Guitars can also help you improve ADD symptoms and improve memory.
Faster thinking is not the only brain-boosting effect guitars have. Among those who suffer from memory issues or attention disorders, one of the top health benefits of playing guitar is the way it bolsters your memory and focus.
A study done by the University of Zurich showed that people who played the guitar had the part of their brains that controlled focus and memory ignite. In other words, it helps you gain better control of both parts of your brain—and that's a huge perk for people who suffer from memory loss or ADD.
The same study also showed it can improve your IQ by as much as seven points. Once again, brain power is a thing with guitars.
A common joke about guys with guitars is that they tend to learn to play guitar because it'll get them dates. Studies actually show that one of the health benefits of playing guitar is an improved sex life.
A study published in the Psychology of Music journal showed that women tend to associate playing the guitar with physical prowess, social success, intelligence, and a good work ethic. All of those traits are what they tend to associate with higher earning power—and being sexually attractive.
Then again, with a guitar as sexy as a Stratocaster, it wouldn't be that hard to get a date. It's one of the best guitars for beginners to try out too.
Psychologically, guitar playing is a huge confidence booster.
Everyone, even those of us who don't play guitars, have had moments where they pretended to unleash their inner rock star with their favorite air guitar.
It doesn't take a scientist to figure out that one of the psychological health benefits of playing guitar is the confidence it gives you. If you suffer from low self-esteem, the pride of being talented in something can often be a game-changer.
If you're a parent, then you better be well tuned into the developmental health benefits of playing guitar. Along with better and faster brain development, kids who learned how to play guitar at a young age were able to communicate better with their peers.
Fox Music reported that kids who studied regularly also had better social skills, which in turn meant healthier social lives when they got older. Simple book-based lessons like the in Guitar for Kids is enough to let them reap the rewards later on.
Finally, it's just a good way to gain creativity.
Cambridge University recently had a study that showed one of the more intellectual health benefits of playing guitar is boosted creativity. The funny part is? You don't actually need to play guitar to get it. Air guitar playing actually bolsters creativity as much as the legit deal.
That being said, if you want to get all the benefits of guitar, you better stick to the real deal.