I remember, from back in 1983, a catchy song by a new wave band, The Fixx. And it popped into my head as I started putting my thoughts together for this article. “One Thing Leads To Another.” If you’re old enough to remember that song, I’ll bet it’s in your head now. Right? But I bring it up because of some things I read about music and heart rate.
And I read about music and heart rate because of my own heart.
My nearly 3 year long ordeal with sinus and lung problems has left me breathless a lot of times. And I don’t mean that in the charming, romantic way. No, I mean literally breathless. Or at least the feeling that I’d lose my breath. And, of course, there’s a lot of stress involved when you feel like you can’t get enough air.
So, to offset that breathing issue, my doctor prescribed a rescue inhaler and Advair. Those are steroids. Corticosteroids, to be more exact, and they’re supposed to help reduce inflammation in your lungs. But the trouble is, they can also increase your heart rate. And that happened to me.
When your heart races at about 140 beats per minute, it can be pretty stressful.
First thing I did was wean myself off the Advair, which is the stronger of the two inhalers. Then, I added a magnesium taurate supplement to my daily regimen. And I felt considerable improvement in the steadiness of my heart rate.
But I kept using the rescue inhaler. Because there are times when the airways into my lungs feel like they’re gonna close down completely. It’s probably more of a feeling than a reality. But the feeling is strong. So, I hit the inhaler.
And sure enough, during this past week, I found I was using the rescue inhaler more often. Because those breathing shutdown feelings were happening more often. And let me tell you…it’s no fun waking up in the middle of the night with a feeling that you can’t catch your breath.
When you can’t breathe right, your heart rate increases. And then you gotta do or take something to help that. And like the song says, One Thing Leads To Another…and back again.
So, in the wee hours, this morning…
I brewed myself some coffee, a natural bronchodilator. Then, I opened my bottle of peppermint essential oil, got a little on my index finger, and tapped it onto my mustache. And between the coffee and peppermint, I’m able to open my airways at least enough to hold off on the rescue inhaler.
So, I’m able to breathe well enough and relax enough to look up more ways to keep my heart rate in control.
And wouldn’t you know it…and it makes total sense to me…music can be good heartbeat medicine.
I found one article that even laid out a BPM (beats per minute) regimen for the day. It said to start your day with music around the 120 BPM mark. And that should be easy. Because many pop songs are in that rhythmic range.
Then, let’s say you walk to work. 120 BPM is good for that, too. And if you have to deal with a steep hill or strong headwind, you might kick it up to 160 BPM.
And if you work inside, maybe a little more mental than physical, instrumental music in the 50-80 BPM range should keep you focused and productive.
Then, if you’re one of those motivated people who fits in a workout during the day, the recommendation is more upbeat music. So, look for songs in the 120-160 BPM range. You can think of it this way. More beats means more times you move your arms and legs.
And the article I read even recommended music in the 120 BPM range for when you eat. Apparently faster music tends to make you eat too fast. Go figure. And it’s a good idea to find music that matches the meal. (Way back in 2015, I talked about how businesses mess this up.)
When you want to (or need to) slow things down and reduce stress, find music in the 50-80 BPM range. And make it instrumental music so your brain can focus on your body’s needs instead of lyrics.
Finally, they say you can actually get stress-free sleep by listening to instrumental music around 60 BPM. And that’s like listening to the tic-toc on a watch. One beat per second.
A good rhythm for your heart.
Now, you might think, since I’m a lifelong musician, I’d already be following this regimen. But you’d be wrong. I don’t follow it. And I never have. But not for any particular reason other than…I just never have.
Too be upfront about it…I probably still won’t follow this regimen. Not because I disagree with it. But because my musical self would tend to focus on the music more than whatever I’m working on. And that’s why, unlike many other writers, I don’t tend to listen to music when I write.
So…there you go. A great little music and heart rate regimen for your health. And an upfront admission that it falls into the category of “do as I say, not as I do.”
Every beat of my heart is important.
And every breath that I take is too.
So, I need to be sure it’s all working.
And I recommend the same for you.
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Or how about some music for kids