I don’t know about you but I can’t go to the gym without my headphones. Everybody has their own work-out quirks and preferences but most people consider listening to music a vital part of the exercise process. Could you imagine how awkward a spinning class would be if there was no late 90s trance and just a chorus of people spluttering and grunting… ugh.
A recent study from Runners World found that 75% of people believe that jogging to music is beneficial to the exercise in terms of creating a pace and keeping them motivated but how true is this in reality?
Music as a tool to fuel exercise is known as an ergogenic aid. It turns out that studies have found that everything from the lyrics to th tempo can acutely affect the performance of anyone in the permanent cycle of pain known as exercise!
‘The Zone’ as referred to by athletes can be induced by listening to a specific piece of music. Some sporting organisations are so weary of the advantageous effects of music that they prompt bands of listening to tunes before beginning competition due to enhancement restrictions.
Look at Michael Phelps’ face below, whatever he’s listening to, it’s obviously what people in the music world refer to as ‘too hype’.
According to Dr Karageorghis, sports psychologist, “[Phelps] is able to block out the pre-race hullabaloo, focus on the task at hands and reinforce his identity as the imperturbable principal of the pool through his distinctly rap-centric soundtracks”. In short: banging beats makes Phelps swim good.
However, Karageorghis also admits that music can be a hindrance to the average gym-goer. Whether music can improve or stunt your exercise depends on whether you have an ‘associative’ or ‘dissociative’ attention style. If you’re the kind of person that uses music to distract you from your aching sides, then you’re ‘dissociative’ and music is an aid. Hardcore gym-bunnies, however, can find loud music to diminish their focus.
Most of us are in the former category, we need all the distraction we can get.