Whether we are conscious of it or not, our lives have rhythm. We hear the tick-tock of the clock on the wall. When we walk or run, our gait has a certain tempo. There’s rhythm in our daily patterns, the way we move, the changing colors of the traffic lights, the drip of a faucet. As many studies have shown, a certain rhythm can make people walk, run, swim, paddle, or pedal faster.
Studies show that music with a faster beat (more beats per minute) tends to improve athletic performance when a person does low-to-moderate exercise. This happens in one of two ways: it can either delay fatigue or increase work capacity. Professor Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in London is the author of Applying Music in Exercise and Sport. He describes the use of music while exercising as “a type of legal performance-enhancing drug.”
The link between exercise and music was first studied in 1911 when researcher Leonard Ayres discovered that bicyclists pedaled faster when a band was playing compared to when it was quiet. Since then, more than 60 studies have shown that music caused participants to push themselves for a longer period of time, report lower levels of exertion, and maintain a better mood overall.
Here are some other reasons why exercising to music is a good idea.
Pain Reduction. A study from McGill University found that listening to music reportedly “lowered requirements for opiate drugs in postoperative pain.” Although music isn’t a substitute for pain-management medication, it may distract from normal aches and pains during exercise.
Boost Happiness. Listening to music during a workout boosts dopamine (the neurotransmitter that drives your brain’s reward system), resulting in feelings of well-being.
Stress Reduction. Listening to the right music during a yoga or Body Flow class can help you wind down and carry those relaxing benefits with you through the rest of your day.
Improve Your Running. Music can act as a metronome, helping you to maintain a steady pace, and decreasing energy expenditure. Shoot for a BPM (beats per minute) of about 140-160.
Want to see how music influences your workouts? Try a group fitness class! Classes have great soundtracks designed to keep your motivation high. For variety, try our Group Fitness Challenge, taking place through June 1st. Take 4 classes in each of our 3 studios and win a unisex t-shirt or women’s tank. Simply register, check-in on MotionVibe, and fill out the form found in every club.
And, for something completely different, check out Merritt’s Music Week! All week long, we’re having DJs perform music during some of your favorite group fitness classes. Registration is open on MotionVibe. And, don’t forget to join us Saturday, April 13th at Union Craft Brewing for Boot Camp featuring DJ Michael Pata.