There are lots of well-documented health benefits of listening to music. It lowers blood pressure, it stimulates the brain, and children who study music also do better in math and foreign languages (although it’s not going to create any baby Einsteins, despite what the ads tell you).
I recently read an article that looks at the benefits of music to athletes, namely that a fast-tempo song makes them go faster, and can help endurance athletes as well. I have read about this before, but thought it was an interesting article none the less. This information has been around for awhile, including articles arguing that athletes would soon have little teeny music players graffed into their skin so they can play music as they race in the Olympics. Nike has even put out a shoe that includes an ipod so you can listen to music while you run.
On the flip side (a term coined during the use of records), if you are not an elite athlete music can help you out too. One study has found that playing the didgeridoo is great therapy for the respiratory system. Another study found that the Beejees’ “Stayin’ Alive” and Queen’s “Another One Bights the Dust” are the same tempo at which people should perform CPR, and if they are taught CPR to that beat, they can consistently perform effective CPR. Of course, the Queen song doesn’t seem very appropriate, so they’re pushing the Beejees’ song a little bit more.