Active Seniors

Getting your exercise groove on

Many people instinctively have music on in the background while they exercise. Research shows that music and exercise go hand in hand and that music can in fact boost the already impressive effects of exercise on the body.
Music has been shown to be beneficial for many aspects of life. It can have powerful effects on our mood, influence our ability to acquire knowledge and has important implications in stress management. What often isn’t discussed is the impact of music on the body during exercise.
Multiple studies looking into the association between music and exercise have highlighted that people who exercise to music increase their exercise performance. This can be due to increases in endurance, better efficiency and/or less reported pain during exercise.
The theories behind this phenomenon centre around two main concepts; distraction and association. When we have music on in the background, our attention and focus shift more towards the music and away from how the body feels. In effect we are distracted from some of the signals we might normally hone in on that might tell us about how tired our legs are getting or how fatigued we are feeling. This distraction allows us to extract just a bit of extra “juice” from our body without compromising it.
The other reason music enhances exercise performance is related to the association between the two. When we hear music, our body instinctively links this with movement. In fact, research shows that listening to music increases activity in the areas of the body that help to coordinate movement. Further to this, we often synchronise our movements to the beat of the music. Walking to a tune with a fast beat will naturally increase cadence (within reason of course!).
The key to maximising your benefit is to find what works best for you. The music needs to be enjoyable as well as being appropriate for the type of exercise you will be doing. If you like classical music and want something with a good tempo that is uplifting why not try Mozart’s “Allegro”. If classical isn’t for you why not try the Beach Boys “Good vibrations”.
We would love to hear what your favourite music to exercise to is. Please leave us a comment!

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