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Health and the Performing Arts – Part 1: Physical Health

by on June 4, 2014

As Fredericton’s premiere performing arts facility, the Fredericton Playhouse aims to enrich the community. Some of the entertainment, cultural and social benefits of the performing arts might seem obvious, but did you know that attending theatre, music and dance performances could increase your physical and mental health, as well as community involvement? In this series, we will explore the many ways the performing arts can positively impact your health!  

While exercise and a balanced diet keep your body fit, you may want to consider adding concerts and plays to make your routine even healthier. According to the report The Arts and Individual Well-being in Canada, 58% of theatre attendees are more likely to claim that they have very good or excellent health compared to those who did not attend theatre performances.

There are a number of ways the performing arts have been shown to affect our physical health. The Canadian Arts Presenting Association (CAPACOA) compiled research about the effect music has on our bodies, for example, and boiled that information down to four key facts:

  1. Music boosts our immune system by increasing the production of antibodies and white cells;
  2. Music has anti-inflammatory properties that regulate the intensity and duration of immune responses;
  3. Listening to music can act as a stress shield because of the reduction of stress hormones that can do horrible things for your health over a long period of time; and
  4.  By triggering brainstem responses, music can regulate heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.

In addition, attending concerts, theatre and dance events can have lasting effects on your vitality. In a study published by Psychosomatic Medicine called Cultural participation and health, health services in Sweden tested 101 art attendees for eight weeks on their energy levels. At the end of the experiment, it was concluded that attending culture events improved participants’ perceived physical health, social functioning and vitality.

Next time you attend a concert, play or dance performance at the Fredericton Playhouse, remember, you’re not just being treated to world-class entertainment; you could also be improving your physical health and vitality!

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