Tonic Newsletter sports fitness music


There are those who find the incessant beat of music annoying while exercising, and those who just can’t lace up their trainers if their playlist isn’t set. If you fall into the latter, chances are you use music to push yourself to work harder as you train. As well as making you work harder over a longer period of time, music can be a good way to time yourself while doing interval training, by going hard for one song and pulling back during the next.

Music is a really great motivator and can give you the extra 10 or 15 per cent that you don’t get when you’re not listening. Listening to music can be especially beneficial for people who don’t really enjoy exercising. What it really does is distract you. At the end of the day, running on a treadmill in the gym isn’t the most fun thing to do for everyone. Music allows you to escape what you’re actually doing, but still do something amazing for your body and your mind.

Research has repeatedly shown how music can improve performance by drawing your attention away from feelings of fatigue and pain when engaged in activities such as walking, running, cycling and weight training. In fact, sports scientists at Brunel University, a worldleading research hub on music for athleticism, have demonstrated that music can reduce your rate of perceived effort by 12% and improve your endurance by 15%. This benefit isn’t exclusive to beginner exercisers: elite athletes use this strategy all the time. One of the greatest distance runners in history, Haile Gebrselassie, synched his stride to the song ‘Scatman’ when breaking the 10,000 metre world record. It’s been shown that listening to music during exercise increases the efficiency of the activity and it postpones fatigue. This especially holds true if there is a synchrony between the rhythm of the music and the movements of the person. Music also promotes flow states for internal motivation. Flow involves an altered mental state of awareness during activity. Even though it is a feeling of energised focus it seems the mind and body function on ‘auto-pilot’ with minimal conscious effort. Some people refer to this as being ‘in the zone’. Music enables you to put aside outside distractions in order to concentrate and envision what you want to achieve during your work-out. Several studies have linked music with positive feelings and memories. Music can boost internal motivation by triggering good emotions helping you experience much greater pleasure from the activity you’re doing. This is magnified when a piece of music reminds you of an aspect of your life that is emotionally significant. Researchers believe that these factors have the power to increase your adherence to an exercise programme in the long run.