Music to Improve your Performance at Fitness

Listening to music can significantly improve your performance. Research indicates that it can improve your endurance by 15%. This effect is reached through three different mechanisms; rhythm, arousal, and distraction from discomfort. This article will elaborate on each of these mechanisms. Further, it will give some tips on the songs to choose and what effect this has on not only fitness but also running.

The rhythm of music is primarily responsible for improving performance. A study on bicycle speeds showed that people conform to the tempo of the beat they are listening to. People are drawn to the synchronous sounds produced by the music. The study found that it did not matter what kind of music was playing. The beats per minute (BMP) was the only mechanism responsible for the faster speeds.

Arousal is the second mechanism that music activates. This means that music will get you to move, to get you in action-mode. From a biological perspective, it can be stated that music tricks your body in thinking a lot is going on, it activates the fight-or-flight responses. But instead of fighting people we nowadays use music to get that little edge during working out. People have even coined music a legal drug for sports.

The third mechanism is about distraction from discomfort. Music, which is mostly played at quite the volume, distracts you from other stimuli that want your attention. Without it, you may be focusing on the discomfort of lifting the weight again. Or you will constantly look at the time indicator on the treadmill. Music lets you drift away and absorb the power from the tunes. In the case of power-lifting, as opposed to cycling, it can be stated that the kind of music is of importance. “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy will probably do much better than “Baby” by Justin Bieber.

Music can be a great motivator during sessions at the gym. The confidence and sense of power can even be transferred to other situations. Play that great song you always hear during fitness right before an interview and feel how your energy levels will rise. If you do not currently have a favourite power song, than this shortlist may help you along:

Not only during visits to the gym you can benefit from music. Your running performance can also benefit greatly from using music. The three effects (rhythm, arousal, distraction) also apply here. Emphasis should be put on the rhythm part, using the BPM information of songs, you can compile a list that suits the tempo of your heartbeat perfectly.

If you are using music for fitness or for running, it can be a great help in achieving your goals. Make sure to pick the right music and vary the songs every now and then. Unplug when you see a friend, but turn up the volume when you do the last set of an exercise. Make music an integral part of your routine and increase your performance.

References & Further Reading: