Whistle while you workout

Nothing helps raise a workout to the next level quite like having some of your favorite tunes playing loud -- and the benefits of music can do more than just help pass the time while you exercise.

It can actually enhance your workout, improve your physical capacity and even boost your overall heart health, and that's especially true if you're battling heart problems.

Exercise alone, for example, can increase your cardiac function and exercise capacity by 29 percent, according to one new study. But when you add some music to the mix, that boost jumps to 40 percent, according to the research of the benefits of music presented at the European Society of Cardiology's annual congress.

The secret is in the endothelium, or the layer of cells that line your blood vessels.

When you suffer from heart problems, that layer starts to shut down. But with a click of the "PLAY" button on your radio or iPod, it starts back up again and at least some of that lost function is restored.

It's almost as if your endothelium wants to get up and dance.

The study doesn't show why  the benefits of music seems to do the trick, but it's probably because the endothelium is responding to the same thing you feel when you listen to the songs you love.

It's a wave of endorphins, rushing through the body. On the outside, it makes you feel good -- it can even make your skin tingle.

And on the inside, it can stimulate healing, repair tissue, reduce inflammation and -- as the new study shows -- even restore lost function to your cardiovascular system.

You don't have to be a heart patient to get all those benefits of music and more. All you need is a stereo and a set of ears.

So get to it... get up, get some exercise and crank up the tunes.

Your heart will sing along.