Can Music Enhance Your Workout
Everyone knows that exercise plays an important role in living a healthy lifestyle. What is less widely known is the role that music can play in this equation. Could listening to your favorite music enhance your exercise?
For people who jog, bike, lift weights, or use cardio equipment music is needed to help achieve peak performance and a satisfying workout. There are some people who prefer watching a sitcom or a movie, or prefer listening to an audio book, but the majority of people need their music.
In the last decade, researchers have studied how music affects the body and mind during physical exertion, and why music seems to be so important to people exercising. When people listen to music, they end up running farther, biking longer, and often without realizing it.
Selecting music for your workout playlist is more than just selecting upbeat tunes. Emotions and personal associations that we have with certain songs play a major role in motivating us as well.
Here are some facts about music and exercise that you may want to consider:
- Music makes you WANT to move. Research has found that music can actually excite the brain and cause the listener to move. Notice how most people have an instinct to move when familiar music starts to play. People may nod their heads, tap their toes, or actually start dancing. The type of music that excites this instinct actually varies from culture to culture and person to person. So no matter how much you dread your workout, once your music starts playing, you’ll want to start moving.
- Music can be a positive distraction. Similar to watching television, listening to music while working out can be a distraction, making a person less aware of how hard they are working. Music can also change a person’s perception of their exertion throughout a workout. For example, it seems easier to run several miles when you’re listening to a favorite tune compared to if no music were playing.
- Music can put you in a happy place. Listening to music is often a very pleasurable experience and certain songs elicit strong memories and emotions. We all associate certain songs with memories of our youth. Channeling that memory boosts the motivational power of the song, thus leading to improved physical performance. Some people report how listening to music helps them think about life and gives them an escape from their current routine. For many people the music you listened to and loved during your youth, will always be your favorite and in turn your favorite to exercise to.
- The right music can help you keep your pace. The rhythm of your playlist can stimulate the motion area of the brain, as to when to move. This is very helpful when it comes to self paced exercises such as running.
- Finally, a word of caution about the volume of the music. With all of the benefits that music can add to exercise, just remember to monitor the volume. If you regularly listen to very loud music while exercising, especially with headphones, you may cause permanent damage. Blasting your music for an extended period of time may lead to ringing in your ears or even permanent hearing loss.