Maintaining a regular exercise program can be a grueling experience. Some days we are just less motivated than others, and on those days it’s really hard to get motivated and really easy to blow off the gym or fitness activity. However, there is a miracle cure for the lack of motivation and that cure is music. Cranking up your favorite tunes provides a burst of energy, whether you’re at work, at home after a long day of work, at a party and, yes, at the gym. There have been many days that AC/DC, Black Sabbath, or Led Zeppelin have lifted my spirits and given me the strength to successfully and powerfully complete my exercise program. It’s crazy to think that just 25 years ago, you would carry around a bulky cassette Walkman either in your hand or clipped to your waistband! Music’s power over the mind is quite amazing. Scientists have found through various studies that music does indeed play a miraculous part in the process of motivation.
Music Provides Distraction
A study was conducted by scientists to determine the focus power of music on those involved in exercise programs. One group of people that they monitored listened to music while another group used earplugs to block out noise for concentration.
The group listening to music were more relaxed and focused much better on their exercises than those with only earplugs. It was determined that those wearing earplugs were too focused on their bodies, which made them uncomfortable while the music listeners were better distracted from the toils of exercise.
Music Can Increase Strength
One study revealed that good, upbeat music actually increases strength. A group of both women and men grasped a pressure measuring rod and were told to squeeze it as hard as they could. Then the group was subjected to listening to three types of music: slow music, upbeat music, and white noise. The group showed the strongest grip strength when listening to upbeat music. Rock on!
Music Can Increase Speed
Scientists have also studied the effects of music on exercise speed. University students were placed on stationary bicycles and were played music that was slowed down and sped up while they peddled away. Not only did students report more enjoyment from listening to the faster music, but they also unconsciously peddled faster to the faster paced music. Again, scientists concluded that music helps to distract us as we exercise so that our brains are less likely to pay attention to the stressful muscle signals sent during exercise.
Music Can Reduce Pain and Stress
Studies have also shown that music is beneficial to patients during physical therapy sessions. Those who listened to music experienced lower pain thresholds and less anxiety and were able to perform longer periods of exercise. I’m sure this works the same when strength training and not only when you’re injured.
What’s Your Preference?
It has been shown that the same songs and same styles of music do not have the same effect on everyone. It appears that personal taste plays a big role in how the music affects each individual. The songs that get us pumping at the gym are usually swayed by personal preference and cultural upbringing. Vary rarely to the same song titles or genres appear in the top three of a favorite song list of people when polled. For me, I love to rock out to AC/DC. What about you? What style of music gets your blood pumping during exercise?