Wellness

Physical activity: music helps you work harder, longer and in a good mood

Listening to loud music while exercising can distract you and make your workouts seem less difficult, making them more beneficial in the end.

Researchers found that people who listened to high-tempo music during training had the highest heart rates and also perceived their training as less difficult. Previous research had already shown that music has a profound impact on the mind and body during exercise.

People who are moderately motivated by physical activity easily find all sorts of creative excuses to cut short their training session: too tired, not the necessary motivation, the exercise is too uncomfortable, exhausting or boring.

But a new small study published in Frontiers in Psychology adds to a growing body of research that music may have the power to make you forget about all that discomfort and help you exercise. If you want to go further and stronger in the gym, it might be time to expand your roster with some dynamic music.

Faster songs improve performance

To understand how music affects people’s workouts, Italian researchers evaluated 19 women who participated in endurance activities, such as walking, jogging or cycling, and high-intensity training, such as weightlifting. or the use of weight pushing exercises. The women trained under four conditions: no music, slow music, fairly high tempo, and extremely fast music at high tempo. The researchers measured the women’s heart rate during their workouts and then asked them how they felt about exercising to the different types of music.

They found that those who listened to high-tempo music had the highest heart rates and also perceived their workouts to be less difficult.

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These effects were stronger in those who did endurance exercise, such as walking or running, than in those who participated in high-intensity exercise. The results show that the beneficial effects of music are more likely to be seen in endurance exercises. Therefore, music can be considered as an important tool to stimulate people doing low intensity physical exercises.

Music motivates us during exercise

Committing to exercise can be a daunting task for many. It must be said that there is such a negative perception of exercise, as something to do to be thin, lose weight, burn calories. This perception ends up obscuring the other benefits they provide, including lowering blood pressure, improving sleep, improving digestion, reducing stress, and lowering blood sugar levels. Music can help people enjoy their workouts more and motivate them to hit the gym more often and complete their workout

Previous research had already shown that music has a profound impact on the mind and body. For example, a 2017 study showed that music can increase exercise duration. Another 2019 study showed that music makes us enjoy our workouts more, and finally a 2006 study found that by listening to fast, loud music, people who run on treadmills run faster and longer.

Music improves our way of exercising and our health

As this new study shows, people who listened to music also saw an increase in heart rate, which can make a workout more efficient and beneficial. Heart rate is a great variable for measuring your exercise intensity. The more intense your effort, the harder your heart works.

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Music also improves our mood. It increases our levels of serotonin (the hormone of happiness), which makes anyone feel better, even while exercising.

A catchy song can make you tap your feet, clap your hands, dance the movement and the music go together. The synchronization between your stride, your pedal, your bike, your step in endurance sports makes it all more harmonious and less stressful. While the study showed that the effects were more pronounced during endurance activities, music may be beneficial in all exercises.

So if you’re dreading your next workout, build a powerful playlist and let the music guide you.

Sources

Vittoria Maria Patania1: The Psychophysiological Effects of Different Tempo Music on Endurance Versus High-Intensity Performances. Forehead. Psychol., 05 February 2020 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00074

Marcelo Bigliassi: The Way You Make Me Feel: Psychological and cerebral responses to music during real-life physical activity. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. Volume 41, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.01.010

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