If you’re a regular gym user, you won’t have failed to notice how most – if not all – of the other people working out around you are listening to music. You probably do it too. What is it about music, though that makes a work out so much more palatable? What does it do to our brains – and our bodies – to help us push through?
When we’re doing something physically (rather than mentally) difficult, a distraction is a good thing, as long as it doesn’t distract us so much that we forget what we’re doing and it causes us to have an accident. Music is exactly the right kind of distraction for working out. It makes those listening much less aware of how much energy and effort they are exerting, but it still allows them to be focused enough to be co-ordinated and carry on without injury.
Popping your Headphones Addict Sony earbuds in and finding an up tempo tune to listen to is a great idea if you want to push yourself during your work out. Listening to fast, high energy music actually makes you work harder, whether you are running on a treadmill, lifting weights, or on a stationary bike. The ideal temp of song to increase effort to the optimum level is something between 120 and 140 beats per minute.
In The Zone
There are some songs that just put you in the right frame of mind to get on with something that could well be hard work. Listening to those songs put you in the zone to work out, so you’re mentally prepared to start being physically fitter. Experts suggest that the brain has as much to do with working out as the body does, so getting your mind in the right place to really go for it by listening to the perfect song will give you a better work out overall.
Songs with a good rhythm actually stimulate the motor area of the brain. It helps us to move at the right time, and to keep pace with our exercising so that we don’t trip over or lose balance or have to keep stopping because we’re out of sync with ourselves. Another bonus of working out to a steady rhythm is that it is easier on our bodies, so we can keep going for longer.
Music Makes You Feel Good
Music can completely change your mood, and if you listen to upbeat, high energy, happy music, your mood will begin to match it. Exercise also uplifts the mood. Put these two things together, and it soon becomes clear that exercise without music only gets us halfway to feeling as good as we know we can. Add in the music and that perfect feeling returns. So listening to music when working out becomes a habit – and a good habit at that! No matter how much you might be dreading that workout, knowing that a good run and some great music will make you feel fabulous will keep you motivated.
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