How often have you been in a night club when your favourite song sparks up and you start dragging your friends up to cut a few shapes out there on the dancefloor?
It is hardly a coincidence that when a less popular song is played the dancefloor just as quickly empties as punters take the opportunity to head for the bar – as human beings we innately react to music. And the same is true when you are doing any sort of exercise regime – your choice of sounds can massively affect just how well you work out.
Ten minutes on a treadmill accompanied by some dreaded muzak can last a positive eternity with the occasional sips of water feeling like a welcome break. Whereas an hour of exercising with your favourite grooves can make you feel like you are in turbo mode, happily pushing yourself that little bit further.
But why does music affect our performance? Research by experts over the past 20 years has shown that music reduces your perception of getting tired – so you can work out more intensely or for longer.
It has also been proven you can improve your performance when listening to music that stimulates you and it can motivate you to achieve more each time you exercise. If you are a fitness class fan, find one where you love the music the instructor plays. This is sure to keep you working throughout the class, smiling widely and singing along when you can actually breathe.
If you are a gym bunny you can bring BYOB – no, Not Bring Your Own Bottle, but Bring Your Own Beats. Go armed with an MP3 player and playlist for the best training tunes.
When choosing your playlist, think about music that you don’t really need to concentrate on as you should be focussing on your workout instead. It is good to choose tunes that are energetic, really hit your happy buttons. Something with a strong beat like rock or metal and techno tunes are often a top choice.
Anything that brings back good memories or those you can sing along to are firm favourites. Change is always good when it comes to music too. Most class instructors should change their playlist every few weeks. You should regularly update your playlist with new songs to stop things going stale. When you turn up the volume on your music, you are turning up the volume for your workout.