Listening to music distracts you from your bodily awareness, I mean, I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to hear myself panting with exhaustion when I’m running, all the while wondering why I’m doing this to myself. But when I pop my i-pod in with my favourite workout tunes, I totally forget how far I’m running and start jogging to the beat.
A study found that it’s not just listening to music that improves longer workout times, but that controlled rhythm of the music that can work as a metronome for your footsteps. This creates a consistent pace, which has a profound effect on perceived effort during a workout.
So what else can the wonders of music do for your health as you pump those overhead presses? Well read on and find out…
It increases intensity:
The intensity of your workout can be amplified with the aid of music. A study in The Sports Journal suggests that depending on what music you workout to and how well you know the song, the beat can work as a tempo. For example, if your goal is to elevate your heart rate to 120 beats per minute, you should choose a song that has a tempo range of 80-130 beats per minute.
Makes it seem easier:
Listening to music as you work out creates a distance and dissociation from what you’re doing. It reverts your mind from the sensations of fatigue. This diversionary technique, known to psychologists as dissociation, lowers perception of effort. Not only that, but effective dissociation can promote a positive mood state. Basically your favourite music can make it seem more fun and why wouldn’t it, who wouldn’t be elated to work out to “Pump up the Jam”?
Boosts brain power:
Immersing yourself in music as you exercise, isn’t just good for your body, it’s good for your brain. A study lead by Charles Emery researched participants’ verbal fluency test both before and after exercise. Those who listened to music performed twice as well in their verbal fluency test afterwards. According to researched published in the journal, Heart and Lung, “the combination of music and exercise may stimulate and increase cognitive arousal while helping to organize cognitive output”.
Makes it enjoyable:
Music makes everything fun, of coarse it does! So naturally it’ll make your workout regime so much more entertaining. Not a lot of us out there can say that working out is highly enjoyable, but those of you who do find you can’t wait to hit your new deadlift record, well I applaud you.
Researcher Brian Wansink, director of Cornell Food and Brand Lab, who conducted a study that tested people’s moods after doing a 2-kilometer “exercise” walk and people doing a 2-kilometer “scenic” walk. Participants who came back from the “exercise” walk felt fatigued and less happy. They also consumed 124% more chocolate than the group who viewed their walk as “scenic”, and that group felt a lot more motivated and happy afterwards.
It just goes to show you how important making exercise fun and enjoyable is. So next time you head out for a jog or to the gym, don’t forget your i-pod with your latest workout playlist. Or even try fitness classes, because they often require cool tunes to work out to such as Pump or Zumba!