Thursday, March 19, 2009

Music. The Workout Super Drug?

Enhancing your Workout

Music as a Exercise Enhancement?

Since the revolution of the walkman, discman, and mp3 player, music and the gym go hand in hand. Whether you like to rock out to "The Boss" as you jog at a steady pace, or crank up the Metallica to amp yourself up, music is a great way to get you motivated.

Even before the times of portable music devices; Gyms have been playing upbeat tunes for years. You notice it in the aerobics classes, the locker rooms, and even by the circuit machines, music is everywhere. But why? What exactly does music do for us while we work out, and how does this translate into benefit? Let's find out..


Think about how you feel whenever you hear one of your favorite rock songs. What does it do to you? Does it make you drowsy and put you to sleep, or pump you up as you sing along? Certain tempos have been known to affect mood, blood pressure, and even heart rate. When paired with exercise, this can help boost adrenaline hormone production, possibly giving you that extra boost of energy.

Upbeat, fast music, much like that of rock&roll, metal, or punk, can alter your mood, and raise your adrenaline. Adrenaline, which is the flight or fight hormone, can translate into raw energy, and help fuel you for an extra set, last rep, or quicker mile.

Softer music, such as classical or jazz, can also have an inverse reaction, calming your nerves and putting you at ease. Different types of music have different effects on our brains, so the key is to use the right music for the right activity!

Do a self study. Workout for 4 weeks. For the first 2 weeks, use no musical stimuli. For the next 2 weeks, listen to either (a) soft music [classical], or (b) upbeat music [rock], and record your results. You'll be suprised with what you find!


Along with pumping up that adrenaline, music can also elevate your mood. Your brain reacts to music in the same way it would to eating a piece of chocolate, or running 5 miles, or other pleasurable activities. As endorphans are released, depending on the type of music (and how your brain responds to it), your mood will begin to shift.

Think about this:
Ever had a bad day, where nothing seems to go your way, and on comes your favorite song on the radio? Almost instantly, you're mood shifts from hopeless to happy. You find yourself mumbling the words as a smile creeps across your face...This isn't chance, its science, and it works at the gym just as well as in the car!

While there isn't a whole lot of concrete evidence tying a particular mood type to workout results, I would think a positive mood would yield more benefits in the gym than a bad mood. Less stress is always better!


Music can also play an important role when it comes to concentration. Different tempos, beats, and sounds interacts with the brain in different ways. How your brain listens and interprets these signals also depends on what you're doing. Are you focused on reading a book or doing homework? Or are you concentrating on getting that last rep out of your workout? Whatever your activity, matching it with the right kind of music can help increase your concentration.

Do a little trial and error to see what type of music suits you best for each activity. No one person is the same, and everyone interprets things differently, so experiment and see what works best for you!

I hope this article has found you well!


Anonymous said...

Heavy metal while at the gym definately seems to help, which is why i bring my own music. My gym always seems to play dance remix songs and 90s pop hits

Anonymous said...

agreed, my level of energy just goes up with harder music genres. My only issue is sometimes you get too caught up with heavier music and you might lose focus and pull something. >_<

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I am a 24 year old college graduate from California. I am big into health and fitness, and feel everyone should get out there, be active, and live the best life they can.

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