Staying (Musically) Fit

By Hollie Bennett, Intern at The Lesson Studio

There are many benefits to staying in shape. It keeps you in a better mood by setting off various endorphins that keep you happier and more relaxed. It helps you deal with or prevent chronic diseases, manage your weight, boost your energy level, and promotes better sleep. It improves your skin, keeps your bones strong, strengthens your muscles, plus you’ll be able to fit into your old pair of jeans that you cast away into the farthest corner of your bottom drawer.  It lowers your heart rate, boosts your immune system, and enhances the blood flow to your brain. Whether it’s lifting weights, running on a treadmill, walking around the park with the dog, swimming laps, or riding your bike, anything that gets your heart moving and gets you a little out of breath works. So many benefits and one of the most rewarding, for myself, is the way exercising regularly affects the way I play my instrument.

Making music requires a lot of control and regular exercise helps you to develop your muscles so they can work in more intricate ways. One of the most important parts of your body to playing any instrument, wind, string, percussion, etc. or even singing can be your core. Your abdominal and back muscles control your posture and air intake and support. These are very important components to maintaining good control while practicing or performing. Also keeping muscles like your arms and legs helps when standing or playing an instrument for long periods of time. Also, I feel like exercising regularly can help you deal with performance nerves. When you run, bike or swim, it helps to build up the strength of your lungs which can be the first to suffer when you become nervous. Not taking deep enough breaths or not being able to maintain steady airflow are very common occurrences when a performer becomes nervous. The stronger your lungs are, the more likely they are to not go into “survival mode” and cause you to lose focus on what really matters: the music.

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