The purpose of this study was to review a series of studies (n = 20) examining the effects of adding music to exercise programs in clinical populations and in the elderly. We found that the addition of music can (a) improve exercise capacity and increase patients’ motivation to participate in cardiac and pulmonary exercise rehabilitation programs; (b) lead to improved balance, greater ability to perform activities of daily living, and improved life satisfaction in elderly individuals; (c) enhance adherence and function of individuals suffering from neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; and (d) sustain these benefits if continued on a long-term basis. Based on the reviewed studies, a number of methodological concerns were presented, among them the choice of music style. One of the practical implications suggested for clinicians and practitioners was that the type of music should be individualized based on each patient’s musical preferences.
The authors are with The Zinman College of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Wingate Institute, Israel and the Faculty of Education, University of Haifa, Israel.