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Moving to the Music

Jun 26, 2013

I’m sure everyone knows that listening to music can help improve your mood and get you pumped up before or during a workout, but now there is research to back that up. According to a study done in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology music can actually boost your endurance by as much as 15 percent.

When trying to make it through that last mile or push through that last rep sometimes all we need is one of our favorite songs to come through the speakers. This is because music actually reduces our rate of perceived exertion by providing a distraction and improving our mood. While listening to inspirational music this “creates a temporary state of physiological arousal, including an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and muscle tension,” according to Caroline Palmer PhD, professor of psychology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Edward Roth, a professor of music therapy and directory of the Laboratory for Brain Research and Interdisciplinary Neurosciences at Western Michigan University, found that listening to music you enjoy actually activates the nucleus accumbens, which is part of the brain’s “reward” circuitry, and releases the feel-good chemical dopamine.

Creating the perfect playlist

  • Choose music that will make you move- Naturally, you will try to synchronize your movements to the music. By choosing music that’s faster than you this will help boost endurance.
  • Only choose motivating songs
  • Organize your playlist- Have one playlist for cardio and use another playlist for lifting. The cardio playlist should have faster songs than the lifting playlist. While lifting we want slower songs so that we are lifting with control and not swinging the weights to the momentum of a faster beat.
  • Create the perfect sequence- Motivational songs should be included at the beginning of the workout such as during the warm-up, faster songs for the all-out phase, and slower songs for your cooldown/stretching phase.
  • Use the music for interval training- Songs with a 30 to 40 second chorus that repeats a few times can be used to plan your sprints. Whenever the chorus begins start sprinting then slow down as soon as it ends.

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