Struggling to find the will to exercise? Or failing to achieve more reps or run for longer? Music could be your saviour apparently.
Many gym goers and fitness fanatics already listen to music, but there is some suggestion that music and exercise go hand in hand.
When I went on a health kick and started running I found music helped me zone out. If anything, I focused on the music and lyrics, helping me forget about being tired. The rhythm of the song also helped me keep a constant pace. So I’ve always been curious to whether any studies could prove this.
Dan Campbell who co-authored ‘Healing At The Speed Of Sound’ suggests using a rhythm can help you fall into a pattern, making you feel less tired. Long distance runner Haile Gebrselassie broke the World Record for the 2,000m event using the song ‘Scatman’ to help keep his stride rhythm. A study by Liverpool John Moores University found cyclists matched the speed of the song and that their heart rate slowed and they covered less millage when the song was slowed down.
Dr. Karageorghis of Brunel University, a sports and exercise psychologist, conducted a study and found that selecting the ‘right’ style of music can in fact help you distract you from the activity so you don’t think about being tired. Athletes call this dissociation which also produces a positive mood.
Placing your attention elsewhere allows you last longer, meaning you can manage that extra few push ups or run a little bit further to reach your target. The study reveals music can increase a person’s stamina by up to 15%. This is all down to using up 7% less oxygen than without your tunes.
He suggests that the right tune will have a tempo to match the heart rate of the exercise. For example, for walking, find a fairly slow pace – one that matches your footsteps. For faster movements like boxing training using a speed bag, listen to music with a fast tempo.
Lastly, the song should have some association to working out such as lyrics. He even suggests the Rocky theme tune might work! So next time you find yourself out of breath, stick some Rocky on. However chasing chickens, punching huge cuts of meat and running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art are optional .
If this fails, get a dog. My dog loves running and barks at me if I’m not going fast enough. I think they may be more akin to a drill sergeant than personal trainers are.
Do you find music helps you exercise? What’s your favourite song? Tell us in the comments section below.