As much as you hype yourself up, it can be tough sticking to your exercise routine every week. As the day comes closer and closer, you’d much rather be doing anything else but your fitness workout.
According to Scientific American, research into music and exercise dates back to 1911, in which American investigator Leonard Ayres discovered that when a band was playing, cyclists pedalled faster than when the band was silent. Since then, there’s been a growing body of research showing that music promotes exercise in four key ways.
Music Reduces the Sensation of Fatigue
Listening to music while exercising keeps us from focusing on the physical sensations of fatigue. Even though feelings of exhaustion remain, our perception of fatigue decreases with music. This mechanism is called the parallel processing model. It only kicks into action during low-to-medium intensities of exercise because the external cue of music can compete with the internal cue of fatigue.
When it comes to listening to music during a high-intensity workout, a 1999 study by Szabo, Small and Leigh found that the external motivating stimulus can temporarily outcompete internal signals of fatigue.
Of course, the intensity of fatigue varies depending on each individual and their fitness levels, but there’s no denying that music can help you push yourself harder to work during low-intensity workouts.
Music Increases Levels of Motivation
Music is said to have a ‘psyching-up effect’ that helps people perform exercise for longer periods of time before becoming tired, but this is highly dependent on the type of music being played, especially the tempo.
Not only did the study by Szabo, Small & Leigh investigate fatigue, but they also looked at stimulation and found that the switch to a faster classical music tempo during the latter stages of a high-intensity cycling workout enhanced participant’s motivation and work output at that moment.
Depending on the type of music and the instant at which music is presented, music can increase levels of motivation which is significant for achieving a greater overall physical workout.
Music Encourages Motor Coordination Through Synchronisation
Music that can capture and hold the listener’s attention helps in the synchronisation of motor movement, assisting in an effective fitness regime.
When it comes to motivational music, Karageorghis and Terry explain in their research paper that there is a stronger preference towards fast tempo (>120bpm) and strong rhythm response. In a 2012 survey, fast songs with strong beats filled most college student’s playlists because they were particularly stimulating for workouts. The most popular types of workout music were hip-hop (27.7%), rock (24%) and pop (20.3%).
Taking into account tempo and rhythm in your song choice can promote synchronisation when exercising, which can contribute to an overall improved exercising experience. People experience a boost in confidence when their body is in sync with the music. This creates a positive association with exercise, making fitness somewhat enjoyable in the moment.
Music Increases Relaxation
The psychobiological impact of music on people can help them relax while exercising. Examining the effects of listening to headphone music during treadmill running, Szmedra and Bacharach noticed lower heart rate (HR) and lower blood pressure, norepinephrine and lactate levels in the participants in their 1998 study.
From their findings, they proposed that music induces relaxation by reducing muscle tension during exercise. Being in a relaxed state may increase your perceived effort when working out. Subtle changes, like the tempo of the music you’re listening to and the type of exercise you’re partaking in, will impact your relaxation levels during exercise.
For example, fast and upbeat music that is commonly used in Zumba, produces a stimulative effect, whereas slow and soft music that is played during yoga, creates a sedative effect. So slower tempo music may increase physiological efficiency, prolonging exercise performance, yet this is intending to limit effort exertion, which doesn’t apply for rigorous training or exercises.
Music can help you retain motivation for longer while you exercise. By boosting your mood and confidence, music can help make exercise enjoyable and accessible. Considering fast tempo and strong rhythm response for your music will help you make the most out of your exercise routine.
For more guidance on how to stay focused and motivated during your fitness workouts, contact us at Ceed today!