Working out for many of us, isn’t simply a way of keeping fit, or improving our appearance, it’s an escape from the stresses of everyday life, a sanctuary if you will. Despite this however, no matter how much you enjoy working out, for the most part at least, there will be times when you struggle to get through your workout, and come perilously close to throwing in the towel and calling it quits. Often, when we find ourselves struggling in the gym, or finding the motivation to hit the gym in the first place, we may turn to music, and rightfully so. Walk into any commercial gym and one of the first things you’ll notice is the music blaring away in the background. Sadly, the music being played may not be to your tastes, which will basically make it pointless. Numerous studies have found that music can help you to exercise harder, and push your body further than normal, but is it really as beneficial as people would have you believe? Well, yes, if of course you enjoy the music that you’re listening to in the first place. If you’re struggling to find the energy and mental focus to get through your workouts, and the cheesy pop music your gym plays every day just isn’t cutting it for you, here are four reasons why you may wish to plug in your headphones and rock out to your favourite tunes instead:
It will provide you with the right distractions
Of course there are many more reasons to listen to music when you exercise than to simply distract yourself, one of the key benefits of listening to your favourite jams is the fact that it can distract you, for all of the right reasons. When you exercise, you need to get into “the zone” as it were, to allow you to focus on nothing but your workout, and establishing a strong mind-muscle connection. Put simply, a mind-muscle connection is when you visualise yourself performing certain exercises successfully before you begin your set, as well as the muscles squeezing and contracting as you work. This has been proven to make workouts far more productive as mental blocks and barriers during exercise are no joke. Listening to your favourite music as you train is absolutely ideal as it distracts you from your current exertions, so you’re less aware of yourself feeling tired and fatigued, as well as becoming less aware of the pain caused when you train. Fast-paced and upbeat music has proven the most effective for providing these forms of distraction, but in reality, any music will do fine, providing you enjoy listening to it.
It gets you in your zone
As mentioned, getting yourself into “the zone” as it were, before and during you train is so, so important for having a productive workout, yet that is where most people struggle. When you exercise, you don’t want to simply be going through the motions, constantly watching the clock and counting down the minutes until you can finish and go home. Instead, you want to be flying through your workout, concentrating on nothing more but each exercise, and enjoying yourself in the process. We all have songs/musicians that get our blood pumping and the adrenalin flowing, which is hugely beneficial in itself. The more adrenalin you have flowing through your veins, the more pumped and focussed you will be.
Music can allow you to maintain the correct pace
If you’ve ever heard of tabata training, you’ll instantly know just how beneficial music can be, as there is actually music created specifically for tabata workouts. Tabata is a form of interval training in which you will sprint for several seconds at near maximum effort, stop and walk to catch your breath for a few more seconds, before sprinting again, and so on. The music you listen to however, will basically play in tempo with the exercise, and what’s more, it will also count you in and out, letting you know when the next sprinting round is about to begin, and when it is about to end. Any form of exercise can be improved if you select the right music for the right tempo. Think of yoga for example. The movements in yoga are slow, peaceful, and precise, as the activity is very slow-paced. For that reason, the music is also slow, peaceful and tranquil, which allows practitioners to maintain the correct pace throughout. It would be much harder to maintain slow and precise movements if you were listening to Dubstep or Hard House music whilst doing yoga. If however, you’re doing a fast-paced, high intensity workout, fast-paced and slightly aggressive music will help you to maintain the correct tempo and pace.
Music can improve your mood
Numerous studies have also revealed that music also has the ability to help elevate a person’s mood and frame of mind, which is extremely beneficial when it comes to working out. Listening to music as you workout will help improve and enhance your self-awareness, providing an escape and letting you get lost in the moment. If you’re stuck on a treadmill for an hour, the last thing you want is to be listening to music you cannot stand, you instead want to be listening to songs and musicians that elevate your mood, motivate you, allow you to relate to them, and help to inspire you. Listening to music that you enjoy has been proven to help promote the secretion of endorphins and serotonin, both of which help to lift your mood and promote feelings of happiness and well-being. Combine that with the fact that exercise in general also has been proven to provide numerous mental health benefits, and it’s no wonder why so many people feel so fantastic after working out with their favourite tunes blasting in the background.