Music makes the world go round; it touches us emotionally where words alone cannot.
It can also silence unnecessary chatter of the mind, excite us physically, ease the boredom of routine exercises, and motivate us to do better.
Beyond motivation, music synchronized with your exercise can have positive physical and psychological effects.
That’s why many of us plug in our headphones or earphones when jogging, biking, or walking.
Also, the body has an easier time following music than the thoughts or sounds of its own breath.
Any song with a strong, steady beat can make you move harder or harder.
It can also help increase your stamina level by up to 15%.
Studies show that faster-paced music tends to help improve athletic performance when a person engages in low-to-moderate level exercise, either by increasing distance traveled, pace, or reps performed.
A 2006 study on The effects of music tempo and sound level on treadmill exercisepublished in the Ergonomics journal, examined the effect of music on the choice of treadmill speed.
The results revealed that by listening to fast-paced music, participants increased their pace and distance traveled without becoming exhausted.
Typically, when listening to music, people tend to run further, cycle longer, and swim faster than usual, often without realizing it.
Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in London, UK, one of the world’s foremost experts on the psychology of exercise music, has written that music could be considered “a type of legal enhancing drug the performance”.
In group fitness classes, having an energetic instructor leading the class with pulsing beats also helps boost performance.
Likewise, relaxing music helps you cool down after a sweaty workout or wind down in a yoga class.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider having a playlist when working out.
A melody can make us happy, sad, angry, stronger or motivated.
When you’re depressed, uplifting music can help you get out of the slum.
Some songs open the mental floodgates with which people control their emotions in everyday situations.
If one identifies strongly with the singer’s emotions or perspective, the song becomes all the more motivating.
As the English novelist George Eliot once said, “Life seems to flow effortlessly when I am filled with music.
Music competes with the feel of the workout and often grabs your attention, distracting you from negative thoughts and emotions.
Have you ever noticed that after a bad day, when you pull out your playlist, put on your headphones and go for a walk/run, you immediately feel better afterwards?
For those unfamiliar with this process, it’s a sort of “meditative” experience and you come away in a much better mood.
The benefits of distraction are most pronounced during low to moderate intensity exercise.
When confronted with high-intensity exercise, music loses its power to neutralize physical feelings of fatigue, but it can still change the way people respond to that fatigue.
Good music lifts the mood and persuades people to ride out the waves of exhaustion, rather than give up.
However, while music can be a distraction, it’s also important to listen to your body.
Stabbing, stabbing, shooting, or extreme fatigue are warning signs that need to be watched, so pay attention and adjust your training accordingly.
If the pain persists, stop.
Music ignites a whole range of feelings in us – you’ve certainly experienced it watching cartoons, romances, thrillers and tears, especially those from Bollywood and Kollywood!
It can make us feel pleasure or displeasure, change our thought processes and, believe it or not, actually change our behavior!
This effect can be seen by physical changes in hormone levels.
A 2012 study titled Music, brain and health: Exploring the biological underpinnings of music’s effects on health showed that participants who listened to music they deemed “enjoyable” had higher levels of serotonin – the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being and happiness.
Researchers suggest that the pleasurable experience of listening to the “right” song can lead to an increase in serotonin levels, which makes you feel good and put you in a better mood for your workout.
Improves motor coordination
Some people just have a natural rhythm and their body parts are well coordinated.
But not everyone is born that way.
If you have two left feet, don’t worry, as exercising to music can apparently help with motor and movement coordination.
This is especially the case when moving to the beat of the music during a group fitness class like Zumba, body combat, or aerobics.
When the body is in tune with the music, people often experience a boost in self-confidence, which creates a positive association with exercise.
Whether you do the right move or the wrong move, a little slower or faster, you’re sure to be excited and leave class in a happier state.
With time and practice, your motor skills will improve.
Requires less energy
Although many people don’t feel the need to run or move on time with their workout music, timing can help the body use energy more efficiently.
When moving rhythmically to a beat, the body may not have to make as many adjustments to coordinated movements as it would without regular external cues.
Music, it seems, can work like a metronome, helping someone maintain a steady beat – reducing stumbles and lowering energy expenditure, allowing you to use less oxygen.
Exercise your brain
It’s a two-in-one benefit when you pair music with exercise because your brain is also exercising.
“Musical activity involves nearly every region of the brain known to us and nearly every neural subsystem,” writes Daniel J. Levitin in his book It’s your brain on the music.
Part of your brain decodes pitch and tempo, while other parts are stimulated by lyrics.
For some, the speed and flow of the lyrics replaces the underlying rhythm: for example, they work on rap songs with dense, fast lyrics over a relatively soft melody.
Take the world’s most decorated swimmer, American Michael Phelps.
He would have listened to hip-hop music before his races in order to concentrate and motivate himself.
This involved narrowing his attention to focus on rapper Lil’ Wayne’s words: “Yes, I’m the best, and no, I’m not sure, I’m sure I know the game like I’m reffing it.”
Some findings suggest that most people have a preference for music played at a certain rate, the most popular being 120 beats per minute (bpm).
Among the songs in this category are those of Lady Gaga Bad RomanceTravel of Do not stop Believing and Shakira’s WakaWaka.
When designing your own music playlist, consider the type of mindset you want to achieve for a particular workout.
For example, British Olympic rowing gold medalist James Cracknell used the persistent beats of the Red Hot Chili Peppers during practice and his pre-event routine.
So, if your movements are regular and rhythmic, the music should not have fluctuations in tempo; rather, it should be parallel to the speed of your own movements.
So go ahead, create your favorite playlist and flex your biceps to the beat of a song.
Simply lower the volume to protect your eardrums.
Revathi Murugappan is a certified fitness trainer who tries to fight gravity and continues to dance to express herself artistically and nourish her soul. For more information, email [email protected] The information in this column is for general educational purposes only. No more The star nor does the author make any warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness, or other assurances with respect to this information. The star and the author disclaims all liability for any loss, property damage or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly as a result of reliance on this information.