Have you ever wondered why guitarists seem so laid back and loose on stage? Some shredders even appear to be immortal, like the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards. Maybe they just have access to really good doctors, but here’s another potential explanation: The axe might be as powerful as anything inside the medicine cabinet. Strapping on a Fender could boost your brainpower, sex life, six-pack, and more:
- Feel Serious Pleasure
Simply plugging in your guitar, playing it, and listening to the music you’re creating can make you feel good—orgasmically so. According to a neuroscientific study from McGill University, hearing music triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, the same chemical that’s released during sex.
2. Wave Away Stress
Whether it’s your boss or bills that give you anguish, grabbing your guitar can help zap stress. A dual study from the Mind-Body Wellness Center and Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems found that stress can be reduced on a genomic level by playing an instrument. Rocking out actually reverses your body’s response system to pressure.
3. Send Pain Packing
Forget popping pills: If you live with chronic pain, reach for a pick. According to a study from the University of Utah’s Pain Research Center, listening to music—and in this case, your own sweet licks—can take your mind off, and thereby reduce, pain.
4. Sharpen Your Mind
Did Einstein secretly shred? A new Scottish study says if you play the guitar—or any musical instrument, for that matter—you’re more likely to have sharper brain function, which can help guard against mental decline in the future. Open a songbook and study up.
5. Record Yourself, Reward Yourself
Oftentimes, guitarists will record their sessions or demo songs; that way, they can go back and practice them. But bring your recordings to the gym and you might see a physical benefit: Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences found that music doesn’t just make for solid background noise while working out—it actually made exercising less exhausting for study participants.
What are you waiting for?