Move to the Music!
Looking for some exercise motivation?
When you first start a new workout program, you're ready and rearing to go! It's exciting and energizing - you wonder why you didn't start sooner.
But after a while, no matter how interested you were at first, motivation starts to wear a little thin. That step-class doesn't tickle your endorphins quite so much; those weight-training machines no longer lure you like they used to; that evening walk weighs about as heavily as the bowl of pasta you just ate for dinner. It's disappointing. After all your initial enthusiasm, you wind up with a serious case of the "workout blues."
But have you ever tried countering this unmotivated mood with another kind of workout blues? Exercising to music - be it blues, hiphop or pop - might be just the motivational injection your lagging workout needs.
Read on to find out more about using music as a motivational tool.
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Studies show we move better to the groove
Recent research has shown that music can be a key motivational tool for exercise, and that listening to up-beat music can increase the intensity of a workout.
Regardless of the type of exercise being undertaken in the studies, performance was improved by around 5 to 7 percent when participants listened to music while exercising. It was also found that these exercisers had higher final heart-rate readings, indicating that the music motivated them to work harder during their workouts. As sport psychology lecturer, Dr. Costas Karageorghis, explains: "Music may have a considerable effect on enjoyment levels during exercise, and selecting the 'right' music may be a key factor in maintaining adherence to exercise."
Why does music help with motivation?
When we exercise, it can be all too easy to focus our attention on how bored we are or on the fatigue that we're feeling. Music can provide a good distraction from these thoughts. It seems we cannot focus our attention on too many thoughts and stimuli at once, and so select the most dominant one - the music. People who exercise while listening to music also often find that they have a reduced sense of effort - in other words, the music allows them to exercise harder but feel less fatigue.
Good news, huh? For this effect to be noticeable, you need to make sure the music is played loud enough for it to be the main focus of your attention, rather than just a passive background noise. But also be careful that it's not so loud as to impair hearing! Listen actively to the lyrics and beat of the music, and let it block out other noises around you. However, you should never have the volume too loud while running or cycling on the street; your safety is critical and you need to be able to hear traffic and other surrounding noises.
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