Have you ever noticed exercise enthusiasts keeping in step with the music during aerobics or body combat classes, or joggers seem to run in a steady pace while listening to music via headphones? Does music really affect our motivation to exercise?

New scientific research does suggest that listening to music while exercising does indeed lift our spirits and keeps us motivated to keep on going.

Of course, the music must be in sync to the exercise, i.e., yoga would require relaxing music while smoothly going through the poses, whereas an aerobics class would benefit from upbeat tempo music that should change to slow music while cooling down. Needless to say, a bodycombat session would require music of a more aggressive nature to keep the pace going.

Today we would like to share some positive ways music affects our motivation to exercise:

  • You will feel less fatigued during an exercise session

Listening to music while exercising keeps us from focusing on the feelings of tiredness, especially during lower-intensity exercises. The reduced level of fatigue differs in individuals according to their fitness levels.

Research has also shown music can help you push yourself harder during your workouts. Music played in a body pump class keeps you motivated to push yourself a bit more.

  • You will feel more relaxed

In 1998, researchers L Smzedra and DW Bacharach who studied the effects of classical music in cycling classes found that acidosis and elevated hormones, both of which contribute to fatigue, were somehow “dampened” by music. As a result, cyclists found such music enhanced their performance.

Acidosis is either a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood or an overproduction of lactic acid that builds up in the blood, both of which happen when your body doesn’t have enough oxygen (poor lung function) to break down glucose in the blood. This causes the “burning” feeling in the muscles being used. Here, the music tempo can help us breathe better.

Heavy or high intensity exercise can cause your body to increase its production of cortisol, and puts it in the “fight or flight” system. Increased amounts of cortisol over extended periods of time will keep the heartrate elevated for a longer period, raise blood pressure and will affect other hormones and overall metabolism.

  • Your motor and movement coordination will improve

Simply moving in step to the beat of the music in group fitness classes has shown to improve motor and movement coordination. With some practice and time, a participant will also experience a boost in self-confidence when he or she finds it is possible to move according to the rhythm and keep up with the rest of the class.

  • Listening to music during a workout improves mental alertness

When you listen to music, your mind becomes aroused or more alert, and it will tell your body how to move accordingly. Researchers Karageorghis and Terry did a review on the psychophysical effects of music in sport and exercise (1997), and found that “Altering the mind’s arousal state with music will result in an increased exercise performance, as if the music is ‘psyching’ one up to perform exercise better.”

Simply put, your brain and body will react to whatever to hear.

Conclusion: Do note that although listening to music while exercising can be beneficial overall, it can also be a source of distraction. Hence, it is important that you listen to your body and know when to stop keeping up with the beat or pushing yourself further to avoid injury.

Gym enthusiasts should go at their own pace and build it up over time. The golden rule is to always slow down or stop for a while when breathing becomes difficult, your heartrate goes too high or if you feel dizzy, especially in group class sessions as the trainer cannot focus on the individual.

This article is meant to provide general information on music and its effects on exercise, and is in no way to be taken as medical advice which should always be obtained from a medical practitioner.

By Aaron
31st August 20:30 2020

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