As if we didn’t know already: Listening to music while exercising has a number of benefits, which are even scientifically proven. Certainly not all of them, but some. Researchers have published articles on this topic in psychological journals. With interesting results, we think:
The researchers accomplished a so-called meta-analysis; an evaluation on the basis of numerous studies, with which the “consistency of the theses” is examined. It’s a mouthful, but well suited for the topics of sports and exercise. Ultimately, this means that the results of the study should be robust and highly reliable. The more comparable the data, the better.
Intensify the sensation
One of the biggest influences of music on exercise, the researchers say, is that you feel better about what you have accomplished during training. Exercises are perceived as more effective in combination with music. This satisfying effect of music should not depend on the intensity of the exercise. It doesn’t matter whether you run on the treadmill at 5 or 80 km/h; with music you will feel (psychologically) equally satisfied.
Reduced perception of exertion
What music is supposed to do is reduce is the feeling of how hard you try. Intuitively, you perceive the effort much less. It was also observed that athletes train more intensely with musical support than without it. Of course, the psychological experts looked for reasons for their thesis. One of them is that we divert our attention from muscle pain to the music. Thus, it is less noticeable when our muscles want to give up and we keep on going.
Inspiration to be like our film heroes
Many people choose music from inspiring films when they exercise, evoking the mood of certain scenes or the strengths of certain characters. Many songs bring you immediately into the power, energy and emotion of a scene from a film. Once your mind is there, your body follows and aspires to perform as well as your cinema hero. It’s a pretty good trick for challenging yourself, try it.
Tempo and efficiency
Speaking of “full throttle”, that brings us to the tempo of the music. The studies showed that music with, for example, a tempo of 120 bpm is more efficient than slower music. Surely?a slow blues isn’t as high-performing and motivational, except maybe for with chess. The meta-study examines the tempo of the music but not the preferred time signature. It would surely be worth considering, because it’s less intuitive to put one foot in front of the other in 3/4 time than it is in 4/4. Maybe this is a good way to train your musical rhythm while exercising, killing two birds with one stone.
Good for oxygen consumption
Aspects of human physiology, such as heart rate, are maybe not directly affected by music, it can be when the song rouses up certain emotions. But it’s more a question of the body’s oxygen consumption which plays a role on your ticker ??. To put it simply: with the constant rhythm of (most) music, you can breathe more evenly and this either speeds up or slows down your heart rate. The main requirement here is that the beat is regular.
Bottom line: feelings & emotions
Music is a performance enhancer, possibly also simply a motivator. Ultimately, it’s about a feeling or emotion. If you feel better with music while you workout, you will more likely continue in your exercise program and give up less easily. With music we can condition ourselves and continue progressing in our sport or gym disciplines! Go get ’em tiger!
Here are a few suggestions for your workout playlist:
- The Eye Of The Tiger (Survivor)
- Chariots Of Fire (Vangelis)
- You Shook Me All Night Long (AC / DC)
- Mama Said Knock You Out (LL Cool J)
- Juice (Eric B. and Rakim)
- Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (Daft Punk)
- Time (You and I) (Khruangbin)
- Freaking Out the Neighbourhood (Mac Demarco)
Do you have any other suggestions? Which are your favourite songs to exercise to?
* Source Psychological Bulletin https://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2019-75018-001.html