Don’t leave home without them
Ever get to the gym and realize you forgot your headphones at home? For some, it’s enough to make you turn around and get them, or just splurge on a backup pair. There’s much more to music than you think. The sound waves that travel through your ears send vibrational pulses that extend to the nerves in your brain. These pulses cause changes in the way your brain functions which also changes the intensity in which you move. Exercising without your own music might seem unfathomable – and researchers have postulated several reasons for why this might be so.
Music can enhance your workout by taking your mind off the physical strain of working out. Music has an incredible way of distracting the mind off strenuous physical activity allowing you to push further. That’s why athletes listen to quick upbeat tempo music when they want to move fast. It’s been shown that distractions take our focus away from the perception of pain – that’s why combat soldiers sometimes don’t know they’ve been shot right away, until the commotion of the fight has died down.
Listening to music releases mood-enhancing hormones such as dopamine and opioids, making you feel good. These hormones are known to raise the pain threshold, so you’ll endure more in your workout.
At the right tempo, music can help your body move in concert with the beat. Music stimulates the part of your brain that controls movement. It helps your muscles continually move, and it helps them move more efficiently. Thus, you maximize your workout, and this in turn can increase your health and life expectancy. Specifically, upbeat music can:
- Increase your heart rate
- Reduce your blood pressure
- Increase metabolism and energy efficiency
- Reduce physical and mental stress
- Diminish feelings of fatigue
However, it has to be a specific kind of music. You could have two songs with the same beats per minute (BPM) – in other words, the same tempo – but they could produce different outcomes in your physical activity. Music that is more associated with “pop-techno” will produce higher physical output than music with a jazz or reggae feel, even if they’re the same tempo.
Music that’s too fast, however, is not likely to have a positive effect on your workout, either. Experts seem to agree that the ideal range of beats per minute is 120–140; that’s where you’ll get maximum results. Anything above that, and the benefits are not as evident.
However, for activities that are a little slower or relaxed, such as yoga, you might want to opt for something a little more down-tempo and which matches the heart rate you wish to achieve during your workout. The calming peaceful yoga music helps calm their body, restore balance, and allows for slow controlled movement.
Improving Your Mood
It’s a well known that music enhances your mood, but studies have borne this out empirically. Social scientists have shown that music helps people think about who they are, who they want to be, and how to follow their own path to get there. Music allows you to shed negative habits of thought and get in a positive, cheerful mood – the perfect mindset for getting ready for a workout.