fbpx

The #1 motivator to get you to work out

Mar 06, 2018
Ashley Ann Lawrie

There are so many ways to enhance our experience when we are training. Having a great trainer, a perfect program, and a fresh workout outfit are all easy ways to make working out even more enjoyable! There is one other aspect of the workout environment that can make or break a workout – music! Some of you may not even notice the music that plays at all of our locations, but for those of you that do, have you ever noticed how it affects your workout? Maybe the steady beat of Cola has helped you push through those last few squats, or maybe hearing the chorus of Despacito has caused you to slam those battle ropes just a little bit harder in a pure and unfettered rage. Music is one of the most impressive human creations and has long been studied for its effect on the human brain. This week we are going to explain to you exactly how music affects us, and how we can use it to take our workouts to the next level!

Your Brain on Music

The surge in activity in the brain when we listen to music is incredible! Music has proven to be a powerful tool in individuals with alzheimer’s and dementia, allowing them to access memories from their past and regain some understanding of where they are. People who stutter are able to speak without hesitation or difficulty when they sing a song from memory.

This is possible because music affects various areas in the brain, and is not exclusive to the speech or auditory areas. In the image above you can see that music affects our hippocampus, or the area in the brain that is involved with our memory. So for the individuals who stutter, this is why they can sing without stammering. Their brain draws on memories in order to form the sentences, instead of the language centers. This also links music to experiences, which is why patients with alzheimer’s and dementia can play music they played pre-diagnosis, and why listening to certain pieces of music can be incredibly emotional for them as it brings back old memories that they thought they’d lost forever. Music also influences the motor cortex. This is why you may find yourself unconsciously tapping your foot, or bobbing your head to certain songs. Your body has a physical reaction to music that attempts to sync the body up to the rhythm of the music. Music and Athletes All of these amazing ways that music affects the brain are great, but how does it relate to people exercising and our actual performance? Well there have been studies (1, 2, 3) on both endurance and power athletes on how music can improve (or diminish) their training and performance. To simplify the studies, in endurance athletes, the studies show that individuals who ran to a music they 1. Liked and 2. Corresponded to a certain BPM allowed them to regulate their heart rate faster while training, and improved their running time. For the power athletes, because their events are much shorter than any duration of song, music had a psychological effect on them prior to competing. Listening to (again) a song they knew and enjoyed improved their pre-competition mental state.

Music and Athletes

All of these amazing ways that music affects the brain are great, but how does it relate to people exercising and our actual performance? Well there have been studies (1, 2, 3) on both endurance and power athletes on how music can improve (or diminish) their training and performance. To simplify the studies, in endurance athletes, the studies show that individuals who ran to a music they 1. Liked and 2. Corresponded to a certain BPM allowed them to regulate their heart rate faster while training, and improved their running time. For the power athletes, because their events are much shorter than any duration of song, music had a psychological effect on them prior to competing. Listening to (again) a song they knew and enjoyed improved their pre-competition mental state.

The “Perfect” Motivational Music

We all have varying tastes in music, and therefore it is difficult to say that there is one type of music that will improve our overall ability to train. The studies did show that enjoying the music that was being played was a factor in how well the music was able to improve their overall performance. If you are having a hard time choosing the best music to workout to, then science has found an ideal choice for you! When we listen to music, our breathing and heart rate can be affected. What scientists have discovered is that if you are training for an extended period of time, finding music that is 120 to 140 beats per minute can help decrease your rate of perceived exertion, and allow you to train harder and longer. This is because when the body synchronizes our breathing and heart rate to this rhythm, we are able to maintain our exercise intensity for much longer. So what does 120-140 beats per minute sound like? Most dance and electronic songs are produced at 120-140 beats per minute. Classical music also produces some pieces at this beat rate. Here is a fairly comprehensive list of other songs like Jessie’s Girl, and Coldest Winter by Kanye that meet this criteria.

Music really is an incredible part of the human experience so it comes as no surprise that it can also be used to amplify our experience in the gym. Let us know in the comments what kind of music helps you get your moving in the gym!

We know the importance of health and fitness

A better you is just a click away!

8 sessions for $96
Free Form Fitness