After such a great summer, with plenty of festivals, parties and bootycamp classes, I have realised how important music is, not only to training but also on a personal level.
For me, music is the solid foundation of any type of feel good activity and I strongly believe it always will be. I am always the ‘DJ’ in my friendship group, responsible for the speaker at any parties and I always have a great playlist for the bootycamp sessions and at the bunker – it is crucial!
But why I find it so exhilarating inside and outside of the gym and training, is what I want to discuss with you.
Firstly music in a fitness environment… Who has ever walked into a gym or workout studio and not heard any music playing? I can honestly say I don’t think I have ever experienced this. I have most certainly heard some questionable playlists but it’s never completely silent.
Why is this? Now this is where it gets interesting… Research indicates that music helps us to not focus on the physical sensations of fatigue, particularly during lower-intensity exercise. So to put it simply, music distracts us from the physical and mental pain of tedious exercises. Of course this can vary from person to person, and fitness level does play a part, as well as the genre of music… I don’t think listening to classical music whilst running or lifting weights would quite have the same effect.
Listening to music whilst exercising is also proven to reduce your RPE. RPE stands for your rate of perceived exertion, it’s a term us PTs use! It basically means us looking at our clients and estimating on a scale of 1-10 how they seem in terms of breathing/heart rate etc or how the set was performed. Music helps to reduce RPE, due it’s distraction.
Another interesting point, which I hadn’t really thought of before is that for some people the lyrics or tone of a particular song or genre can identify and match an emotional state. The beat and melody may not actually be as important as the lyrics and story. I found this so interesting, and when I think of it, it is definitely something that I do subconsciously. I guess that is why I always go for empowering house music, the lyrics and stories are always positive, happy, confident and optimistic.
There’s also the Psychological Effect that listening to music can have on us.. exercise or not! There could be a specific song that takes me back to a point in time, a memory, a moment, good
or bad. This can have an effect on your thought processes and your behaviour, which can create a shift in your hormone levels. Our serotonin and dopamine levels work hand in hand and are responsible for how we feel in terms of pleasure. It also helps us strive, focus, and find things interesting. Dopamine production is key in helping us release endorphins (that happy feeling, I always mention we get during exercise), music can have the same effect. There have been numerous studies over the past decade that have shown that participants who listened to music (which they deemed “pleasing” to them – specific to the individual) had higher levels of serotonin.
So boom! There you have it kids! Music and exercise is such a powerful cocktail, making you feel the best you can feel!
I can use this as another justification for my partying lifestyle – festivals, raves and house parties! Music always makes me feel good and helps me to have a little break from reality! Some turn to sports, some like reading, going to the cinema, playing computer games, cleaning etc. Well, for the reasons I have just stated, music and exercise is my go-to. Within my journey, the hurdles that I’ve jumped and the barriers I’ve overcome in my life, music & exercise have saved me, it has brought me out of dark places and helped me feel happiness again.
I hope that music can do the same for you.
Listen to our latest podcast episode to hear me speak more on this exact subject!
Listen on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-strngrl-series/id1571044897
Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/2qy93OrVUl1mNtuvvYWAYC
I hope you found this blog helpful and will enjoy our podcast episode, let me know what you think!