Pump up the Jams

Working out sucks on so many levels. You’re sweating and probably in pain, but its all somewhat okay because you’re sweating and in pain to your favorite song. Theres no doubt that listening to music enhances your work out.

According to an article from Active.com, research of listening to music while exercise started in the 1920s and is still being done today. One of the first studies done in 1935, lead by PD Robert Sewak, discovered that a simple tempo change in a song cause the respiration rate of a person to change. As they uncovered more data, researchers found that music also changed the heart rate of the person, affected their blood pressure and metabolic rate, and reduced stress and fatigue. All of these things help energy flow around the body. The real question now it how does music do this?

After the music enters a person’s ears, the sound waves then turn into vibrations. These vibrations than travel to the brain. One they are in the brain, they influence the brain and therefore your body movements. For example, Dr. Costas Karageorphis, author of Inside Sport Psychology, conducted a study on cyclists who listened to music through headphones rather than just in the background. He found that those who listening through headphones needed 7% less oxygen to do the same amount of work than those who listened without headphones.

Dr. Karageorphis also looked further into his data to find that music helps in many other areas. First off, music helps distract from the physical activity one is doing. That is mostly why I listen to music while working out..to actually forget i’m working out. He also discovered that music creates emotion while exercising. For example, if a song comes on that correlates with a happy memory, it will boost your energy.

Dr. Karageorghis also states the positive effect of music synchronizing with movement. By doing this, it results in greater endurance and more calories burned. This is majorly why so many athletes listen to fast music while working out. The tempo of the music is a direct reflection of the beats per minute your heart does. For runners, they listen to fast tempo music, but for yoga people, they listen to slower-tempo music. The slower music helps calm their body and help them practice balance.

No matter the physical activity, I am a firm believer in listening to music while working out. It makes the activity seem not as bad and distracts from the sweat dripping down your back and you sing along (hopefully in your head) to your favorite song.

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4 thoughts on “Pump up the Jams

  1. John Luken

    For a while, I used to work out without listening to music and found myself not as motivated. As soon as I started listening to music while working out, my drive was so much greater and was more intrinsically motivated to get a good lift in.

  2. Connor Ethan Ogden

    I can definitely relate to the part about a tempo change increasing heart rate. The other day I was on the treadmill for what seemed like hours and I was thinking about getting off when a really fast paced song came on, so I told myself “just run for the rest of this song”, and I actually ended up staying for 3 more songs. Another thing I would make note of is the affect music has on adrenaline levels. There have been many studies done that show that music can raise adrenaline. I know that when I’m getting ready to go out on a Friday and an uptempo song comes on, I get pretty hype.

  3. Rachael Moyer

    I have never really enjoyed working out too much, but when I do I have to be listening to music. I found the study especially interesting, where those listening with headphones needed 7% less oxygen, which makes it easier to work out. I never put two and two together, but it makes sense now why people doing yoga listen to slow music, and those doing cardio workouts listen upbeat music. My tennis team used to always listen to music during our warm ups to get us pumped up, here was one of our favorite songs: Link

  4. Devon Amber Macdougall

    As someone who works out relatively often I can definitely say that it would not be physically possible without music in my ears. Running without music is literally torture in my opinion!

    After doing a bit of research, similar to what you mentioned I found that studies find that music reduces your perception of how hard you are running by about 10 percent. An external stimulus such as music can actually block some of the internal stimuli trying to reach the brain—such as fatigue-related messages from muscles and organs. When these messages are blocked, this reduces a runner’s perception of effort, so you feel like you can run farther, faster. Music also elevates positive aspects of mood such as excitement and happiness, and reduces negative aspects such as tension, fatigue, and confusion, so it can be used pre-performance to get runners into an optimal mind-set.

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