Are you one of the many thousands of people who listen to music during a workout? Your main reason might be for distraction or focus, or just to help the time pass. But research seems to suggest that listening to music can lead to a boost in performance.
Music is a great way to pass the time in any situation. When exercising, and without music, you’re undoubtedly trying to focus on your rhythm. Each minute that passes can (but will not always) lead to tedium. You’ll give up out of boredom more than anything else. However, when your mind is on the music, you’re less likely to get distracted. Just let the music take you away into the workout and that’s enough of inspiration that you won’t notice the time pass.
As a seasoned exercise enthusiast, you’ll have learned quickly that pushing your body right to the limits is the fast track to burnout and giving up. It doesn’t matter if you’re a runner, a cyclist, an ice skater, or simply using the cross trainer at the gym – going too fast will wear you out quickly while going too slowly won’t truly test your body. Setting a pace is essential to a successful workout and it’s much easier to do that with music. Choose the right tracks for the right tempo and you’re all set.
We’ve all had a bad day and taken our frustrations out on the road or gym equipment. Exercise is a great way to channel that frustration and let off steam. But did you know it’s easier to get it out of your system when you do so to music, especially with rock music? It might seem counterintuitive, but a study from Australia suggests that aggressive music, such as rock, aids (perhaps as a form of mindfulness) to help the listener relax and distress.
As if there aren’t already enough ways that music is good for your health, here is another. Working on a similar principle of distracting the mind away from the tedium, and channeling the aggression, music can help take your mind off mild pain. Those little niggles that aren’t threatening to our health, aren’t technically sports injuries, hinder our performance. They can lead us to take it easy or giving up early, putting a dampener on a workout. When focusing on music, you won’t even notice those small pains.
There is no doubt that any form of music will invoke an emotional state. Slower music relaxes us, and faster music is invigorating and energizing. That emotional connection to music also improves the enjoyment of exercise. In turn, it inspires us to train longer. One of the benefits of both listening to music and to exercise is the release of endorphins, also known as “The Pleasure Hormone.” With such a double dose, we’re less likely to want to stop a workout.