Dr Michael Mosley explains simple activity can have a huge impact on mental health

Dr Michael Mosley has issued some great advice
Dr Michael Mosley has issued some great advice -Credit:Getty Images

Dr Michael Mosley has revealed that playing a musical instrument can help combat depression, boost a person's memory and even help reduce chronic inflammation.

The 5:2 and Fast 800 diet founder said that scientific research backs up the claim, while noting it's never too late to start trying to play.

Speaking on his BBC Podcast, he said: "There is certainly good evidence that playing a musical instrument however badly can improve mental health. In a recent study, 45 men and women who were using mental health services were randomly assigned to either 90 minutes a week playing the drums or a control group.

"After 10 weeks, there was a significant fall in the drum players' levels of anxiety and depression and even more impressively, these effects were maintained for three months after the sessions finished."

Gloucestershire Live reports that Dr Mosley also added that it could have a positive impact on health, detailing: "Interestingly, many mental health conditions are now thought to be linked to levels of chronic inflammation in the body. So in this study, the researchers also measured markers of inflammation like interleukin four along with improvements in mood.

"These markers also improved but only in the drum players."

Dr Sonia Seinfeld of the Open University in Catalonia also appeared on the podcast, explaining to Michael how the activity can enhance cognitive function. She said that one study she carried out had 20 participants per group with a minimum age of 60 and a maximum age of 85 who had never played piano but were interested in learning.

They received lessons and had to practice for 45 minutes each day, and their results were compared to those painting, having computer lessons or playing sports. She said: "We took cognitive measures before the study and after the study in order to see what specific benefits music could have compared to leisure activities and both groups showed improvements in their cognitive functions.

"But musical training produced significantly higher improvements in executive functions, divided attention and in inventory control, these are skills that we normally require in our everyday life, for example, to plan our day or when we are cooking and we have to follow a recipe.

"The type of cognitive abilities that music enhances are cognitive functions that we also use in our everyday life activities. And also we also found that it improved the mood of the participants and their emotional state."