Music While Walking Boosts Brain Power and Distance Walked

Wendy Portland Marathon Half Marathon Medal
Wendy Wears Pink Headphones at Portland Marathon Finish. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Listening to music while walking and exercising has some surprising effects.

Music While Walking Helps You Walk Farther

A study published in 2002 by Ohio State University researchers found that lung disease patients who listened to music while walking walked an average of 19 miles a week - four more miles than the control group who didn't listen to music while walking. This confirms what many of us find to be true - music helps distract you from the effort of exercise and makes it a more pleasurable experience.

Music Plus Exercise Boosts Brain Power

Exercise alone has been shown to improve mental functioning - getting the blood flowing through the brain is a good thing. Now Ohio State University researchers have found that cardiac rehabilitation patients listening to music while on the treadmill had double the verbal fluency scores as the same subjects did when they used the treadmill without music. With or without music the subjects reported feeling better emotionally and mentally. The researchers didn't test how long the improvement in mental function persists - but you may want to take a power walk before your next mental challenge.

Walking Improves Brain Function in Aging Adults

Getting off the couch and building up to walking 45 minutes three days a week boosted the brain power of participants aged 58-78 in a University of Illinois study published in 2004. Their scores in decision-making on a variety of tests improved 11% vs. only 2% in a control group that did only stretching and toning exercises.

Now, I wonder whether they listened to music while walking during this study?

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