Blast Off: Music to your ears… and waistline

Everyone has days where exercise is the last thing you want to do.

Everyone has days where exercise is the last thing you want to do. Whether it’s because you’ve had a busy day at work or are just feeling tired, sometimes it can be tough to find the energy to even think about tying up those laces. But have you ever noticed that hearing a certain song can turn your mood around and make you feel more energized? You’re not alone. Music has a way of making your workout seem like less of a chore. Simply playing your favourite playlist can increase motivation and actually improve your performance.

Music can be incredibly motivating; sometimes just hearing a certain tune can make you want to go for a jog or hit the gym. Connecting songs with exercise can stimulate positive thoughts, especially when you hear those songs again. Have you ever been listening to the radio and a song comes on that you exercised to earlier that week? Chances are it triggers a positive memory about how great you felt during or after the workout. These encouraging thoughts can help keep you motivated and you actually want to return for another sweat-session. So, crank up your personal favourites and get active! If you hear music you like during a workout, there’s a better chance you’ll want to hit the gym again. If you’re outside, just remember to keep an eye and ear open for any obstacles.

Not only a great source of motivation, listening to the right music can actually increase performance. According to a study from the College of Charleston, people could complete 10 additional reps while listening to music they enjoyed. Think about how much that would add up to after a year’s worth of workouts! Researchers discovered that music helped the exercisers feel more positive even when they were working out at a very high intensity. This allowed the participants to push themselves harder than if they had been working out in silence. When you listen to music you like, you are more likely to focus on the enjoyment you are getting from hearing the song rather than that burning sensation you are feeling in your muscles. This distraction will increase your positive thoughts, decrease the negative ones, and give you that boost you may need to challenge yourself.

The rhythm of the music can also play a role. When you hear a song with a particular beat and try to keep up with it, your motor skills may actually improve because you’re trying not to miss a step. When you’re in sync with the music, exercise seems smoother and less forced. Imagine any kind of dance without the music; it’s not nearly as much fun. The type of music you choose has an impact as well. Let’s say you are in a yoga class, trying to focus on steady breath and the instructor turns up the techno; you won’t be as likely to achieve a relaxed state than if you were listening to something mellow. The same goes for weightlifting or higher intensity cardio. If you’ve got a faster tempo song playing, it can energize you and help you get into the right mindset. Whatever type of workout you have planned, try to match it with the appropriate style of music and you’ll likely see an overall improvement during that session.

For more information on how to get moving, contact Fitness 4 Life’s certified personal trainers and group fitness instructors at 250-688-0221 or 250-688-0024 or check out our newest summer promotion, Transform Your Body, online at Personal training is more affordable thank you think — we are always available for a free consult and fitness assessment.

— Submitted by Jill Andrews, Hayley Wilson and Kate Atkinson