The Beat Goes On and On and On
Try to imagine step-aerobics, Spinning, or Zumba without the music. You can’t, can you? The movements are so closely tied to the beats and the melodies that they almost become second-nature.
Watch a group of Zumba fanatics assemble in a room; as soon as the music starts, their feet start moving and their hips start swaying. Warning: if you stay in that room for more than a minute, you’ll find yourself wiggling along with them.
Allow music to get you through a workout
Exercise and music and go together so well that I think they should be one word. Exercusic? Muxercise? Ok, maybe I need to work on that.
In all seriousness, though, I can’t say enough about how much I rely on music to get me through my workouts. Sometimes, when my energy or motivation is low, having a good playlist is the ONLY thing that gets me through. And, when I am feeling great, I am convinced that my music is what takes me to the next level.
Music, exercise and mood
Turns out, there is actually science behind this. Studies on the motivational effects of music on exercise have suggested that specifically-chosen, rock and pop music can improve the mood of exercisers and enhance endurance by as much as 15%. It has even been suggested that music can help us to overcome feelings of fatigue and help us feel more positive while working-out, even at a high-intensity.
Interestingly, there have also been studies to prove that playing upbeat classical music during exercise can relax the body, lower heart rate and blood pressure, improve perceived exertion, and reduce levels of cortisol (aka “the stress hormone”) in the body. So, even if Madonna and the Red Hot Chili Peppers aren’t your thing, you can still benefit from a little motivation by Mozart.
I have never been part of a formal study on exercise and music, but I can tell you that the worst run I ever had was when my iPod died at the halfway point. I completely lost my rhythm and my cadence, not to mention my enthusiasm. Without my tunes to guide my strides, I was a panting, shuffling mess. (Don`t tell anyone, but I have even cancelled runs because I left my iPod at home. Shhh.)
Let the music be great!
Music is integral to the group fitness classes that I teach and I am constantly searching for the perfect songs to set the tone. When I am making playlists for my runs, I can be completely selfish, but when I am programming for a class, I have to keep an open mind. Thankfully, I have very vocal participants and they let me know what they like and do not like. For me, the best compliment after “That was really hard!” is “The music was great!”
My own musical tastes are all over the map (and sometimes surprising). In one playlist, I can go from electronic/dance, to rap, to ‘80s new wave, to Motown, and back again. The only rule is that there are no rules; if it moves me, it’s in.
What music moves you?
I would love to know what music moves YOU. Leave a comment with your workout playlist “must haves” and be entered to win Be Well prize pack*. Fair warning, though – I just might use them on my next run.
Rebecca is a Certified Spinning Instructor, fitness instructor, blogger (Relish and Everything is ticketyboo! ), artist, reluctant morning person, and notorious killer-of-plants. She lives in a foliage-free home with her teenage son, Jacob.
*Contest closes on this post March 15, 2013.