Music - A type of legal performance enhancer!
Imagine yourself walking into the gym when the pandemic eases, motivated to conquer the day. You are all pumped up to perform the deadlifts. Now, as soon as you set your grip on the barbell, the music track changes to "I am a Barbie girl". What would be your reaction? If you ask me, I would feel my soul shrinking. Does that mean music can impact not just your mood or emotion but also your workouts significantly? Let's take a look at some evidence-based studies and figure it out. “Right tempo- right temperament” Several studies show that people tend to push themselves more and feel less tired while listening to fast-paced music. The ideal tempo necessary for maximum performance depends on the type of exercise. Exercise intensity can be mapped through the heart-rate. So the ideal tempo is the balance between an individual's ability to keep up with the beats of music and the rhythmic demands of exercises/workouts. Studies suggest that music can significantly improve athletic performance in two ways: it can either delay fatigue or increase work capacity. It increases levels of endurance, power, productivity, and strength. Endurance to pain also increases as music distracts people through competing sensory stimuli. “Feel good - look good” When we listen to music, it makes us feel good. And this can actually help us look better. Listening to favourite music increases serotonin levels in our body, helping us push ourselves more during workouts. Listening to music has also been associated with expansion in immunity-boosting antibodies that increase protection against bacteria and other invaders. Apart from this, music has also been effective in treatment of conditions ranging from premature birth, depression to Parkinson's disease. Interestingly, the benefits of music are not restricted to any particular genre. Positive and upbeat lyrical music can act as an energy booster and speed up learning. Softer tempos can contribute in making the brain efficient in following instructions, thus improving overall quality of the workout. “How does it work?” Psychologists refer to this as 'rhythm response' which is more or less related to how much a song cultivates an instinct to synchronize your movements with music. Cultural and individual preferences might come into play here, but to make a broad generalization - fast songs with strong beats are particularly stimulating, so they can be found in most people's workout playlists. When moving rhythmically to a beat, the body doesn't have to make as many adjustments to coordinated movements as it would without regular external cues. This helps the body cut down on energy expenditure and have more quality workout. Is there a preferred tempo? High intensity workouts- 150-170 BPM Yoga- 60-100 BPM Zumba- 130-170 Strength Training- 130-140 BPM Limitations: 1. Additional sources of noise or unwanted distraction. 2. People's familiarity and preference of music - Musical taste is dependent on individual personality and interpretation that might not align with workout requirements . Beats for the brain The human body is designed to constantly monitor itself. Even when we are working out, we tend to exercise a lot of control over our minds. In the middle of workouts, when fatigue starts to kick in making us realize we need a break, music helps break this loop through the element of distraction. This is why we go for fast-paced songs as the workouts get tougher. Apart from music, our minds also create an alternative reality where we start connecting to the original visuals of the music. This distracts our mind from the pain and tiredness. Music initiates movement. How to crack the ideal playlist: Focus on tempo and not genre. Links: http://www.escom2017.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Buhmann-et-al.pdf https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00074/full http://jass.neuro.wisc.edu/2011/01/The%20Effect%20of%20Varying%20Musical%20Te mpo%20on%20Exertion%20During%20Exercise%20in%20College%20Students.pdf https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5435671/