Blog - exercise
Posted by Matthew Pearson on 4th Nov 2017
Many exercisers of all types consider their music to be an important part of their ability to get the most from their workouts. But it’s not all in their heads.
Certainly music can distract people from the boredom or pain of exercise, acting almost as a drug, or at least a metronome. Studies have shown that people exercise performance really is better while listening to music. See, for example, the 2012 review of this research by Brunel University in England.
According to this study, published in the Journal of Research , the kinds of music most often listened to by the college student subjects were hip hop, followed closely by rock and then pop. The most common kinds of workouts chosen for these music-aided routines were free weights, treadmill, and weight machines.
As far back as 1911 a study showed that bicycle riders pedaled faster when they heard music. Studies since then have suggested that the speed of the music is key. That is, exercisers tend to time their movements to the music. That makes music with a strong beat the most enticing. Past associations with a given piece of music can be even more compelling.
According to the magazine Muscle and Fitness, some of the most popular rock music for exercise are Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, and Metallica. People running on treadmills seem to prefer a somewhat faster beat then those doing other kinds of exercise, but speeds beyond a certain limit don’t seem to help. There are actually apps that help users choose their optimal exercise beats.
Perhaps even more interesting are the implications of another 2012 study led by C. J. Bacon of Sheffield Hallam University in England. This study found that subjects who cycled in time to music used seven per cent less oxygen as those do did not listen to music. The keeping of a steady pace may make movements more efficient.
With such considerations in mind, the national governing body for distance racing actually banned runners from carrying portable music players in competition in 2007. They said this was "to ensure safety and to prevent runners from having a competitive edge." After objections from runners, the rule was amended to apply only to the most competitive ranks.
Music can clearly inspire, but it may really increase strength or endurance, as well. Music is often an avenue to emotions, but, less obviously, it can also be an avenue to movement. People dance to music. It certainly does seem that our bodies’ movements to music can almost involuntary, like foot tapping.
Most workout routines are of indefinite duration. That is, your plans are to never stop. Such routines require focus, determination, and discipline. However, most trips are only a week or less in duration. Whether for business or pleasure, you are doing something different, for motivations different from your usual ones. In the case of vacations, you are intentionally changing your [...]
Perhaps your old gym teacher yelled at you, saying that “you can’t get it done just by thinking about it! If you could go back in time, your wise guy response could be “actually there is a new study suggesting exactly that!” It would be a stretch, but citing the journal Health Psychology (July 20, 2017 issue) would provoke little [...]
Exercise principles are pretty simple, so you’d think there are only so many things you can do to improve your fitness. However, free enterprise always seems to come up with new ways to entice people to pay money for the latest thing. For those readers too young for this to be obvious, here are some examples that can teach [...]
It doesn’t require any special equipment or diet and doesn’t show you how to do anything you don’t already know how to do. Yet over 4 million members pay close to $4 billion in dues per year at over 13 thousand locations in over one hundred countries. Clearly, there is a continually strong desire by people to get in [...]
We know that exercise is good for us. We also know that “fitness” is good and that being overweight is bad. In fact, both consistent exercise and high fitness levels are associated with longer life. However, in recent years some people have proposed that you can be both overweight and fit without much exercise. Really? Can you be fat [...]
You knew that exercise helps prevent heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. You knew that it can help you lose weight. You probably haven’t thought much about the effect it can have on your sleep, but science has now done that for you. It helps! Sleep is widely recognized as a great restorative. Among the less mysterious ways it works [...]
Just when you thought you couldn’t remember all the studies that show that exercise is good for your brain, along comes a review of thirty-nine of them to help you. Memory is especially improved for people over fifty when exercise is done on a regular basis concluded the British Journal of Sports Medicine in its March 30, 2017 issue. Though exercise appeared [...]
Along comes another study to confront your sedentary friends with. On the other hand, don’t do that. Just be smug in the knowledge that you’ll probably outlive them. The new study was actually a review of five other studies, totaling about 55,000 subjects at five U.S. universities. The conclusion was that running can prolong your life more than any other [...]
Much has been written about how much exercise is enough, but how much is too much? And what does “too much” mean anyway? For most of us, this question is of academic interest only, for how many us are really exercising even close to too much? But it is important to know why an amount of exercise would be too much [...]