Concert therapy: Live music better for mental health than yoga, study finds

LONDON — Stressed out? Perhaps you should check out your local amphitheater’s summer concert schedule. Concertgoing, a new study finds, may be better for your mental health than doing yoga.

Researchers at Goldsmith’s University in London recently recruited 60 British adults to participate in an experiment comparing the health benefits of seeing live music to those of two other relaxing activities: dog walking and practicing yoga.

Fans at concert
Want to live a happier, longer life? Attend more concerts. A new study finds that seeing live music improves well-being more than yoga, and may even extend one’s lifespan.

Participants, who first completed an assessment evaluating baseline well-being and psychological health, were subsequently split into one of the study’s three activity groups. To measure physiological changes, participants were asked to wear heart rate monitors while performing their assigned activity, before finally retaking the initial assessment.

The researchers found that those who spent just 20 minutes watching British pop singer Paloma Faith perform live showed the highest gains in mood and well-being at 21 percent. Yogis, meanwhile, saw their mood improve by 10 percent during the same duration, while dog walkers experienced a seven percent boost in spirits.

“Our research showcases the profound impact gigs have on feelings of health, happiness and wellbeing – with fortnightly or regular attendance being the key,” says Patrick Fagan, the study’s lead author, in a release.

A separate, but related poll conducted among 2,000 British adults by The O2 — a major concert venue in London — found that two-thirds of people feel happier experiencing live music, as opposed to listening to recorded versions.

Four in ten frequent attendees indicated that a live gig’s atmosphere was its main draw, while nearly one in ten said that a stellar performance could be considered a “spiritual” experience.

As for long-term health, how does regular concertgoing help, you may ask? Fagan points to previous research that’s shown high levels of well-being can increase a person’s lifespan by nine years on average.

“Combining all of our findings, [attendance] could pave the way for almost a decade more years of life,” argues Fagan, who conducted his study in concert with The O2.

In other words, putting more favorite acts on your bucket list will actually let you add to that sacred document.


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