Trending News: Exercise and music
Do you listen to music while exercising? Are your earbuds as important to you as your lifting gloves? If so, you wouldn’t be alone. Most of the people at my gym listen to some time of music while pumping iron.
But can streaming the sounds of your favorite melodies benefit your workout? According to a recent study appearing in the APA’s Psychological Bulletin, the answer is – yes.
Investigators conducted a meta-analysis of research studies about listening to music while exercising or playing a sport. In case you are wondering, a meta-analysis is a ten-dollar term used to describe the review of many studies – over time – to identify patterns.
For this line of research, 139 studies were examined.
Results of the study
There were two main takeaways from this investigation. The first one is probably obvious to you; listening to music lifts your mood during and after the workout.
The second finding, however, is critical if your goal is to build muscle mass. Specifically, the study found that music tricks your mind into thinking you are exerting less intensity than you really are.
So, when you are bench-pressing 100 pounds and getting a full range of motion, music can apparently make the weights seem less heavy. It’s a phenomenon that still puzzles exercise scientists.
Behind the science
Some researchers think listening to tunes helps the weightlifter focus more on the music and less on the pain. Others believe there is an inspirational factor at play.
There was a third finding from this investigation. Athletes performed better when they listened to music, although weightlifters faired better than other sports-related activities.
You may be wondering if the type of music matters? Apparently, a tempo of greater than 120 beats per minute (fast music) yielded better results than slow music.
Curious about the relationship between music and exercise performance, Men’s Variety spoke to psychologist Dr. Greg Harms. He works with athletes in Chicago to help them reach physical fitness goals.
“In many ways, listening to music during exercise helps you to feel better about what you are doing. But aside from its mood-boosting benefits, it also encourages mindfulness. For weightlifters, that’s critical to establishing a strong mind-body connection,” Harms said.
When asked about his impressions of the meta-study, Harms said, “It’s not shocking. There is a reason you hear upbeat music playing in the background at most gyms. The tunes help to create an energetic and more focused environment,” Harms said.
Well, there you have it, folks – jamming to your favorite songs while working out is a smart move. Now, I have more reasons to dial-up The Who and Supertramp when I’m bench-pressing.
Do you listen to music when you exercise? If so, has it helped you to have a better workout? Share your thoughts below in the comments box.