It's not exactly news that music can make or break your workout. That's a large part of the reason why wireless Bluetooth headphones for digital music players are getting more and more popular. They're even being made specifically to appeal to athletes, with earpieces that are designed not to fall off even under rigorous conditions and water and sweat resistant features to protect them from harm. But have you ever wondered why music is such an integral part of your fitness routine? It turns out that there are some good reasons why music is important for athletes and other fitness-minded types. Check out how music is helping you stay in shape.
Fast Music Makes You Move Faster And Farther
When you really need to feel the burn, you don't listen to slow songs. Instead, you put something upbeat and fast on your playlist. It turns out that this isn't just because you're inspired by the beat – you may actually be keeping pace with the beat.
A laboratory study of the effects of music on cycling showed that when the tempo of the music was increased, the cyclists pedaled faster. Faster music increased the distance the cyclists were able to cover by more than 2%, and slowing the music caused the cyclists to decrease their distance by almost 4%. Power and pedal cadence also increased with faster music and slowed when the music slowed down. So, if you want to increase your speed and distance, pumping up the jams may be your best bet.
Music Can Be A Mood Lifter
When you choose fast music, it's not only because you need it to get yourself energized. It's also a mood booster. After all, it's usually the slow songs that are the sad ones. Fast music is often pretty cheerful. And that cheerful music can actually boost your mood.
You probably use music to change your mood all of the time, without even thinking about it. Sad love ballads after a breakup give you time to wallow and examine your feelings and rehash your relationship, but when you're ready to move on, you'll choose something more powerful and peppy. Classical music puts you in a focus, contemplative mood, perfect for studying. And when you need to yourself out of a slump and back to the gym, fast, energetic music can do the trick, changing your mood from fatigued or bored to pumped and ready to run.
Music Is A Distraction
At first glance, the fact that music can be a distraction sounds like a bad thing. After all, you want to focus on your workout and your fitness goals, right? However, the right distraction can actually help with that. Focusing on the music distracts you from feeling discomfort, heat, and pain.
When your brain is busy processing the notes and words that are playing in your ears, it doesn't have time to focus on the sweat pouring down your face, the stitch in your side, or the muscle soreness in your legs. You may recognize all of those things as sensations that make you want to quit exercising for the day. The less you notice that you're uncomfortable, the longer you'll be able to keep going, and the better the workout you'll have. Basically, music increases your endurance levels by helping you forget the fact that you're exercising in the first place.
Music Taps Into Your Memories To Motivate You
Do you remember how you felt when you first watched Rocky and heard the theme song? Excited, victorious, competitive? Even if you can't place the memory, your subconscious remembers, and it pulls up those feelings every time that you hear the song, which is why it's such a powerful motivator.
Other songs have the same ability to tap into your subconscious and bring out emotions that will motivate you. If you ran a marathon with your headphones in your ears last year, your brain will associate the song that was playing when you crossed the finish line with feelings of accomplishment and pride, and that's what you'll feel the next time you hear the song. Choose your playlist based on songs that have a personal meaning for you, and you'll have a soundtrack custom-made to appeal to the memories that will motivate you the most.
It's clear that there's no substitute for music when it comes to improving your workouts. If you have a fitness goal that you've been having trouble meeting, you may be better off investing in better headphones and updating your playlist than paying pricy personal trainers.