Music: How does it help us exercise harder?
In the second part of our Musical experiment we look at the different mechanics that music affects which stimulates us as human beings. If you havnt read the first article, go here.
There is no exact science that can explain the effect of music on the mind and the body because the topic covers such a vast spectrum from audiology, neurology and health science to motor function, and rhythm processing. But what we do know (and can feel) is that music has the capacity to bring up emotions, such as excitement, joy or melancholy and physical reactions connected with those emotions, which is a pretty powerful tool. It can even bring up memories locked in our minds from years ago. In our next article we will discuss this topic in more detail.
Certain music has been proven to aid students with studying and focus abilities because it uses so much of our brain’s processing capacity that it lowers our reaction to distractions from what is physically going on around us.
In a similar way, a great jam at the right moment will divert your attention from your body’s reaction to exercise when you are becoming tired or fatigued during a workout. It does this by bringing our full attention to the feeling and rhythm of the song.
Our brains automatically search for rhythm or patterns in sound, it is what aids us in speech development at an early age and continues to develop as we get older. The term ‘rhythm response’ refers to that feeling you get when you hear a song or a beat and you can’t help but want to move to it, whether you are tapping your feet or humming along. According to sports psychologist, Dr Karageorghis, “Rhythm response is tied to how the tempo of the song matches the heartbeat of the runner. Even as babies, our hearts look for and synchronize to the rhythm of our mother’s hearts.
Beyond music demanding our brain’s full attention, it simultaneously has the power to change your heartbeat to mimic its rhythm. Technically speaking, music is the most powerful and cost-effective performance enhancing drug on the market.
Words of caution though, when you are in the zone with a fantastic beat in the background please be especially aware of your surroundings, music is a powerful distraction which should be used (like any reality altering substance) with caution and awareness.
30 minutes a day is equal to 6 really catchy pop or rock tracks that can mentally and physically carry you around the block. So the next time you try to convince yourself that you are too tired to go for that walk or cycle just grab your earphones and remember that YOU are in control of your body, not your brain.
Love your hearing by understanding it.