College Lifestyles: How Music Kicks Up Your Workout

This article is from our friends at College Lifestyles

We’ve all had those days where it’s enough of an effort just to get out of bed in the morning, let alone get ourselves to the gym and try and talk ourselves into working up a sweat to keep our bodies strong and healthy. So, how does a low-energy, chic lady get herself motivated to work out? If you’re like a number of people, you plug in those earbuds and blast your favorite song and instantly feel like you could take on the world. Why is that?

More and more people are using music when they exercise. While it may not always be fitting, such as if you are running in an official race (many races do not allow mp3 players), it could be just the thing to give you that extra boost you need during a regular workout.

Several studies have been done on the use of music during exercise. One study suggests that music helps distract people from the physical discomfort they may feel. Let’s face it, even we fabulous girls get a little sore and out of breath; it’s normal! But, if you find yourself struggling with these mental barriers, music may be just the distraction you need. It also makes the time fly by! Listening to music narrows your focus so you may not realize that your body is starting to feel tired as quickly.

Music can also really get your heart pumping! Depending on the speed, or tempo, of the song you are listening to, your heart rate will actually increase in response to fast songs and decrease in response to slow songs. So, as much as you love that romantic slow jam, you may want to think about creating a special workout playlist that includes lots of upbeat songs. Your mother sang you lullaby’s to get you to sleep, so it makes sense that they probably would not be the greatest choice

Have you ever listened to a song while walking to class and found yourself walking in time to the music? Use that to your advantage! Running Music Mix allows you look up songs based on their BPM (beats per minute). Finding songs that sync with your steps will help you keep up your pace while running. For example, “Umbrella” by Rihanna is 89bpm and would be good for when you’re winding down, but “Rockafeller Skank (Funk Soul Brother)” by Fatboy Slim is 153bpm and would be perfect for endurance activities like jogging.

Music has been used for thousands of years to motivate physical activity. Just think back to when ships were propelled by men and oars. Remember the guy who beats the drum? He’s creating a rhythm for the rowers to follow. We naturally follow a tempo.

REMEMBER!: If you’re going to plug in, make sure that you use a moderate volume level so that you don’t damage your hearing. Also, if you run outdoors it’s very important that you stay aware of your surroundings. A classy co-ed always thinks about safety first! Also, listen to your body. While music may help you push through a little discomfort, you should never work out if you are in pain. Check with a doctor before you do some real damage to your body!

— Ellen Ratliff for College Lifestyles

College Lifestyles is an online magazine bringing nutrition, etiquette, and lifestyle to the classiest of co-eds.

Originally posted on Saturday, October 8th, 2011

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