Workout Secret: Can Music Boost Your Workout Performance?
Just as Indians are divided during the IPL, so are runners divided on the theory that music can boost performance. Competitive runners believe that music reduces your speed and look down on sprinters who plug their ears. However, for the leisure joggers and runners out there, music provides the necessary boost of motivation. Running to match a beat or skipping to a tune does prompt some of us to up the tempo and gain maximum workout results. Let's take a look at what experts have to say...
Our first question is: Does amplified music tempo improve our workouts?
In 2009, researchers of Liverpool John Moores University in England measured athletic performance based on different music tempos. 12 volunteers rode on bikes for 25 minutes and the music was played at three different intensities. During their workout the tempo was changed without informing the volunteers – 10 percent faster and 10 percent slower than the normal tempo. It was found that the workout pace increased by 3.5 percent when the music tempo was amplified, but their strength crashed to 9.8 percent when the music was slow.
Here's our second question: How does the complete presence or absence of music affect our workouts and exercises?
In a 2004 study at Lincoln University in England, volunteers were faced with endurance muscular task, where they had to hold up weights as long as they could. This was done over several sessions that included and excluded music in turns. It was found that when the motivational music played, the volunteers could hold the weights for longer durations.
Whether or not these studies may be considered conclusive is a matter of corroboration with other larger studies and their findings. But the simple underlying fact remains - athletic and exercise performance does improve when motivational factors are part of the exercise session. For some this could mean open greenery, fresh air and topographical variety; for others, this could mean pleasant music that motivates one to match beats and tempo.
The brain is the most complex part of the body; they say listen to your heart but the brain knows better. Your brain informs you when you have reached the limit of self harm; it tells you when you are tired. If you push your brain and motivate it you can push your limits, and you will achieve better results. And music is one of the ways to motivate your mind.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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