A multitude of evidence exists showing that listening to music enhances exercise performance. This has been shown in multiple exercise types including endurance, sprint, and resistance-based exercise. The benefits of listening to music may be mediated through various mechanisms including psychological (i.e. motivation, mood), physiological (i.e. oxygen uptake, autonomic control), and psychophysiological (i.e. rate of perceived exertion, arousal).
What does research show?
Researchers have found that fast, loud music would automatically stimulate the listener by activating the central nervous system regarding how the music is subsequently appraised. This stimulation results in elevated heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, skin conductance, and muscle tension.
Soft, slow music has the opposite effect and thus decreases sympathetic arousal. Such relaxing music often mimics the soothing sounds that can be found in nature.
Music affects our emotions
Bob Marley once said: “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”. If you apply this thought to your life, exercising would sound much more exciting. The full benefits of music during exercises are still being researched but we can all agree that music can affect our emotions and it can help us to build and remember moments in our lives. Music is life in itself, said Louis Armstrong, and he wasn’t wrong.
Do you find starting a physical activity or continuing a physical activity is hard for you? We all have been there. But like everything in our life, we must make a choice. So why not choose an activity that brings you joy, maybe lifting weights, walking, running, fighting, dancing, Pilates, swimming, football, golf, anything, and get active? Choose some music and give it a go and give yourself some time to get used to this new activity. It may help you to start small and build on this routine or why not find a friend to start it with?
-Lehman J.T, Whitmire B.G, Rogers R.R, Williams T.D, Ballman C.G. (2022). Effects of respite music on repeated upper-body resistance exercise performance. International Journal of Exercise Science. 15(7): 79-87.
-Terry P.C., Curran M. L., Martin O.V., Karageorghis C. I., Parsons-Smith R. C. (2020). Effects of music in exercise and sport: A meta-analytic review. American Psychological Association. Vol 146, n. 91-110.