Music is a great tool to be able to work out, to “move steel,” “pump iron,” or push yourself. Music has a physiological effect that you need to know about. When you listen to music that is pleasing to your ears, it stimulates the production of Dopamine, the “feel good/good mood” chemical. Outside of the nervous system, it inhibits the release of norepinephrine and acts as a vasodilator. Norepinephrine prepares the brain and body to perform a task and to act, especially during times of stress or danger…tied to the “fight-or-flight” response. Now, vasodilatory action of Dopamine simply means that the blood vessels are dilated, or enlarged…and this increases blood flow…therefore increasing rate of oxygenation to your tissues.
Yeah. Music does this, and more: it also “synchronizes” the brain within the rhythm, and helps you to perform repetitive motions (such as push-ups, or sets of bench presses) with more fluidity, increased smoothness. Age is not a factor regarding the positive effects here: younger athletes or older people who exercise derive benefit from the factors just mentioned.
Music playlists are often used with tempo and pace coordinations that are synchronized in both research facilities and medical therapies administered to patients with varying degrees of condition and different age groups. The physical activity time limit is generally increased by about 37 minutes per day. Cyclists and runners are prime candidates for such increases in performance generated by this synchronicity in rhythm. Although I have not tried it personally with running or cycling, I have done it with long walks or marches with the rucksack and it does help take your mind off of the task at hand and make it more fluid.
Faster paced music helps to motivate a person to work out longer and at a higher intensity: it distracts you from tiring or wanting to quit early. That pace is within reason, and also to the taste of the individual. Obviously, Benny Goodman may be considered “fast-paced” to someone 75 years of age, whereas a 20-year-old could not stand it. Watch out for your volume, though: you should listen to headphones at the 80 for 90 rule…meaning at 80% of the maximum level for no more than 90 minutes a day, so as not to either overdo it on the ears or injure them. It usually requires about 16 to 18 hours to recover from any short-term ear “overloads” you may sustain.
50 to 60% is just as effective, and probably easier on the ears. Also, try and remember to keep those workouts to about an hour, unless you’re breaking it into (2) workouts per day. There are a lot of positive effects on coordinating your activities and synchronizing with music that you listen to simultaneously. It helps you to control cardiac activity and to “pace” yourself, falling into a rhythm.
I listen to some really hard stuff that gets the blood moving while I’m moving the steel. It provides a big psychological “edge,” as you immerse yourself in the tunes and concentrate on the rhythm of your lifting…the breathing and repetitions. After the workout is over, I like to listen to soft, relaxing music that will help me in the “cool-down” period to slow down my breathing and heart rates…light classical as well as some sounds of nature CDs that are very calming. These are very beneficial to recovery, as the recovery process begins the minute you’re done. All of this after throwing down a shake, mind you and then giving yourself 15 to 30 minutes to unwind, depending on your time constraints.
I’d like to hear from all of you about what music helps you to carry out whatever type of exercise regimen you follow after. To summarize, you have to find the best mix of whatever it is that stimulates you to get through your workout program, and then to “cool down” and begin recovery and relaxation. Music is very beneficial as a tool to help you accomplish these things more effectively and certainly inexpensively…as you work toward physical fitness and good health. JJ out!