“Need to charge my phone, cannot workout without my music”

“Turn Around, I forgot to get my head phones! No music, no gym!”

“Gotta add this song to my playlist, I pushed hard at the gym thanks to this song’


These are some of the common thoughts that people think of when they want to ‘Do a lil stance, Tighten their glove and Just get down tonight’

Pushing hard for any workout is tough. Whether you’re an athlete or  a person that jogs or runs or cycles, lifts weights, works out at home, or  does  it Jane Fonda style(must confess, that was fun) and otherwise exercises, music may NOT be superfluous. In fact, many workout gurus like Shaun T, for example, have tapped into the essentials of music for exercise through his infamous beach body dance workouts like HipHop Abs and CIZE and have found out its importance to peak performances and provide satisfaction to the users. (Just ask Chris Pratt- former chunk, now a hunk thanks to HipHop Abs)

Research on workout music and workouts formed around music, have swelled significantly, in the past 10 years (although it’s been going on since 1911,when American investigator Leonard Ayres found that cyclists pedaled faster while a band was playing than when it was silent).

So what effects result from pairing music and exercise and how it can change the mind and body during physical exertion? Let’s find out.

Selection of Songs:

Thanks to music, you run farther, you bike for longer or swim faster than usual, without even realizing it.

And maybe the credit goes to the selection of the song! Forget the speed or high energy songs! The things that motivate us most are things that evoke our memories, emotions and associations to a song.  For some, the extent to which they identify with the singer’s emotional state and viewpoint determines how motivated they feel. And, in some cases, the rhythms of the underlying melody may not be as important as the cadence of the lyrics.

Helps to distract:

People are also encouraged to continue through distraction. The human body is constantly monitoring itself. After a certain period of exercise—physical fatigue begins to set in. The body recognizes signs of extreme exertion—rising levels of lactate in the muscles, a thrumming heart, increased sweat production—and decides it needs a break. Music competes with this physiological feedback for the brain’s conscious attention.

Similarly, music often changes people’s perception of their own effort throughout a workout: it seems easier to run those 10 miles or complete a few extra biceps curls when Beyoncé or Eminem is right there with you.
Doctor Beat:

Two of the most important qualities of workout music are tempo—or speed—and what psychologists call rhythm response, as rightly sang by Gloria Estefan – which is more or less how much a song makes you want to boogie.

Some studies show that people have an innate preference for rhythm at 120 beats per minute (bpm) or 2 beats per second.
When we tap our fingers or walk, many people unconsciously settle into a rhythm of 120 bpm.  And an analysis between 1960 and 1990 found that 120 bpm was the most prevalent pulse out of 74,000 popular songs from those timelines!

However, when running on a treadmill became popular, most people seem to favour music around 160 -180 bpm. But the most recent research suggests that a ceiling effect occurs around 145 bpm: anything higher does not seem to contribute much additional motivation.

In Sync with Instinct:

Most people have an instinct to synchronize their movements and expressions with music—to nod their heads, tap their toes or break out in dance—even if they repress that instinct in many situations. What type of music excites this instinct varies from culture to culture and from person to person.

This can be traced back to our ancestors that likely produced the earliest forms of music by singing, screaming, chanting or otherwise using their vocal cords, as well as by physically interacting with their own bodies, other people and the environment. A fast tempo would have likely required fast movements: quick clapping or foot stamping, perhaps. Deep, loud sounds would have demanded great energy and force—belting a note or beating the ground or a rock.

People’s emotional response to music is visceral: It is, in part, ingrained in some of the oldest regions of the brain in terms of evolutionary history, rather than in the large wrinkly human cortex that evolved more recently.

Scientists now know that, although different regions of the human brain specialize in processing different senses—sound, sight, touch—the brain uses the information it receives from one sense to help it understand another. So, music and movement are particularly entangled in the brain. Recent studies suggest that—even if someone is sitting perfectly still—listening to enjoyable music increases electrical activity in various regions of the brain movements “When you hear a loud noise, you jump before you have even processed what it is. That’s a reflex circuit, and it turns out that it can also be active for non-startling sounds, such as music.”

In fact, the human brain may have evolved with the expectation that, wherever there is music, there is movement. And it’s likely that music is an extension of the human body as it helps

The Mind: We don’t think of pain or fatigue, it elevates the mood, reduces perceived effort by perusing people to ride out waves of exhaustion,

The Body: Less feeling of pain, Increases endurance, Promotes metabolic efficiency.

The Brain: While evolving, we were inclined to move faster with high tempo maybe as these sounds required more energy for hunting.


What do you think?