• Anatomy Of Fitness

What is the relationship between MUSIC and EXERCISE?

Updated: Nov 14, 2020

Music has been worshipped since ancient times and shares a strong relation with religion, civilisations and empires. Synchronisation, rhythm and scale are imbibed in us. Our heartbeats sound rhythmic, the sound of our footsteps is rhythmic, the chirping of birds sounds melodious. Indeed, music is woven into the fabric of nature. There would not be a single person who does not like music. Although music is a performing art, the theory of music is pure science and highly mathematical. Some rules define melody, rhythm and scale.

Exercise and music:

Music has the power to influence our mood – make us happy, sad, aggressive, cheerful, motivated, romantic etc. Most people like to listen to music while exercising or training. Whether it is while working out at the gym or while practising Yoga. There are plenty of examples of professional and recreational athletes setting personal best records when listening to their favourite music. Several studies have shown a positive impact on training. Music creates a psychological advantage to combat side effects of exercise and training.

Music has the power to influence some bodily functions like heart rate, breathing, blood pressure etc. acting as an ergogenic aid to facilitate physical performance. With an increase in the heart rate, we feel alert and ready for action. It is extremely useful for a powerlifter. With a decrease in the same, we feel calm, very useful for a yogic asana. A study demonstrated a significant increase in performance during explosive exercises and an altered mood state when listening to self-selected music.

Several studies have proved that music allows us to temporarily disassociate from fatigue, a side effect of exercising. Turning up the music before attempting a personal record will certainly help!

Another study showed that 89% of weightlifters believed music increased their quality of training.

The effects of MUSIC:

#1 Arousal regulation:

Music creates a positive mood before or during exercise. It helps increase confidence makes training more enjoyable. It may help us in revving up or calming down. For example, loud and pumping music may be useful in revving up a powerlifter or a boxer. Slow, soulful music may be useful in calming us down and lowering the heart rate in preparation for yoga.

#2 Effects of disassociation:

Research has proved that music can temporarily lower discomfort and pain caused by fatigue and lactic acid build-up. It can distract us and lower our perception of effort. This effect helps with pushing for performance when we are mentally or physically tired.

#3 Synchronisation:

Whether we are eating, jogging or lifting weights, our body tries to match the pace of the activity to the tempo of music we listen to. One study on cyclists showed that cyclists consumed 7% lesser oxygen when the tempo of music they were listening to matched their pace in comparison to the cyclists who listened to music that did not match the tempo to their pace.

Music for recovery:

Music also helps in recovering and recuperating from fatigue caused by exercise and training. A 2008 study found that athletes listening to relaxing music post a training/ exercise helped in decreasing - the heart rate, rate of perceived exertion and urinary protein as compared to athletes who did not listen to music after training/ exercising.

Key takeaways:

  1. Music is ingrained in the fabric of nature.

  2. Music helps with all types and forms of exercises like running, swimming, weightlifting, yoga etc.

  3. Music helps to lower the sensation of pain and fatigue.

  4. Several studies indicate music has positive effects on mental and physical health and fitness.

  5. Listening to music before, during and after exercise/ training/ competition helps.

Now we know the kind of relationship MUSIC shares with EXERCISE.

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