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Give Your Workouts a Boost With Music

Do you listen to music when you workout?  Do you find that when you listen to music when you workout, does it make you workout with more intensity and focus?  If you find exercise boring or hate to workout, have you tried listening to music while you workout?  If not, you may want to give it a try.

Music and movement go hand in hand.  I can’t imagine doing cardiovascular exercise without my music.  Not only does it help me keep my pace and my rhythm, I find that I expend more energy exercising to music .

When lifting weights, I prefer to listen to rock music.  It not only helps to keep me focused on my workout, but again, I find that I lift more intensity and more aggressively.

When listening to music, there are certain songs that can really get you motivated such as the theme to Rocky, Gonna Fly Now and The Eye of The Tiger.

Using Social Media, I posted the question “What do you do to keep yourself focused and motivated during your workouts?” Keep in mind, when I posted this question, there was no mention of music in it, yet, just about every response I got made reference to music.  Here’s a sampling of some of the responses I got.

  • “I listen to very loud, upbeat music on my iPhone”
  • “Music drives my intensity.  It helps me block out all other distractions and focus on my goal for the workout.”
  • “I notice when I road run I start to keep pace in time with the music.  It makes the time go quicker”
  • “For me, I have to have great music.  That pushes me throughJ”
  • “Music drives the passion for me, especially Rock and Roll and keep moving when on the treadmill.”
  • “Music, I need music.  Stay in the zone.  Too much chitter chatter can kill a workout.  Also, a five minute blast on the treadmill ever 20 min to keep the adrenaline going.”
  • “iPod, and I pay close attention to the time between I rest between sets!!”

Based on my experience of working out with music and the responses I got to my question, I decided to see what kind of information, research, studies have been written about the effects music has on exercise.

The majority of the research on this subject has been done by Dr. Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University’s School of Sport and Education.  Here are some of the findings of his research that has been reported in various articles.

The benefits of working out to music
Carefully selected music can increase a person’s physical endurance and make cardiovascular exercise a more positive experience.  Music can help exercises feel more positive even when they are working out at a very high level of intensity.

In one study volunteers rode a stationary bike while listening to music.  When the tempo of the music was increased 10%, the volunteers covered more miles in the same period of time, produced more power with each pedal stroke, increased their cadence and heart rate compared to listening to the same music with the tempo 10% slower.  Interestingly, the volunteers liked the same music better when the tempo was increased.

Music is a great motivator and certain songs can elicit motivation.  The best example of this would be the theme to the movie Rocky.  Whenever you hear that song, you automatically have visions of Rocky training and running up the library stairs victoriously.  The beat of the music also motivates you getting your body into a rhythm and motion.

It’s been well documented that exercise is great stress reliever and mood booster and so is music.  When you put the two together, you’ve got a great stress busting, mood elevation combo.

The New York Times summarized this best:

The human heart wants to synchronize to music, the legs want to swing, metronomically, to a beat. So the next time you go for a moderate run or bike ride, first increase the tempo of some insidiously catchy Lady Gaga downloads (or Justin Bieber or Katy Perry or whatever reflects the current popular taste in your household), and load them on your iPod. “Our bodies,” Dr. Kraus concluded, “are made to be moved by music and move to it.”

New York Times
Science Daily

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