Here’s a guest post from our friends over at ZingInstruments.com who are almost as obsessed about music and fitness as we are!
You can ditch the personal trainer – did you know that music can help you get fitter, healthier and better looking?
The power of music seems to be never ending, and here are 8 more science-backed ways music can help you get fitter.
A study conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Centre in 2008 showed that happy music can lower your blood pressure significantly. The study showed that happy music outperformed funny videos and even relaxing music or ambience when it came to reducing blood pressure.
But what’s so important about that?
For one, you’re less likely to suffer from heart disease. You can also expect better performance from your muscles and organs as it’s easier for your blood to deliver that all-important oxygen to your body’s cells.
Become immune to pain
If you’ve ever had a serious operation requiring surgery, you’ll be all too familiar with how much pain you’re in after the painkillers wear off.
Once again, music has your back. Back in 2005, a study performed in Sweden showed that simply playing music during surgery reduced the amount of pain felt by patients afterward.
On top of that, it also reduced the need for as much anaesthetic in the first place.
Fight off infection
Do you like dance music? If you’ve always dismissed it as rubbish, it’s time to think again. A 2013 Canadian review showed that music boosts the levels of infection-fighting cells in the body. Another study in 2008 showed something similar. It turns out that it only takes 50 minutes of dance music to effectively give your immune system a Rocky training montage.
There has been no word if ‘Eye of the Tiger’ specifically improves your immune system, but we can only imagine it does.
At the core of all of your physical activity is your heart. Without blood your muscles can’t do anything. If your heart is weak and has to constantly work hard to manage everyday tasks, you’re at higher risk of a heart attack.
It turns out that simply listening to music that you love, particularly the stuff you haven’t heard for a while, is enough to help your heart work smarter rather than harder.
This is strongly correlated with the ‘frission effect’ – the feeling of a shiver going down your spine in response to a flood of dopamine, the feel-good chemical.
Better quality sleep
You can spend all the time you want in the gym, but it won’t do you any good unless you give your body a chance to repair and recover. Sleeping is when this rebuilding phase kicks into action the most.
According to the Journal of Nursing Studies, listening to calming music can help you get to sleep faster. Better quality and quantity of sleep helps your body recover from training faster. Instead of opting for total silence, put on some relaxing instrumental music instead.
Let’s pretend you’re trying to escape from a 28 Days Later-style zombie apocalypse. If you’re lucky enough to still have some way of listening to music on the go, you’ll be pleased to know that you’ll be able to run faster, but also further without tiring.
Research has shown that the beats per minute (bpm) of music encourages your body to sync the rate of movement to the rhythm you hear. The higher the bpm, the faster you want to move. So whether you’re running, cycling or even having a skipping session, opt for something a little faster. The positive effect on your performance peaks at around 145-bpm. You may want to listen to something faster if you’re looking for a more intense workout, but it won’t assist you much further past this point.
In addition, it can also improve your endurance by as much as 15 percent, and keeps your mind off of the monotony.
If you’re struggling to beat your one-rep max at the gym, it’s time to bust out some hard hitting music.
A 1996 study showed that ‘stimulating’ music improved grip strength, a good source of overall strength, when compared to no music or calming music – which actually reduced grip strength.
Another study in 2012 showed that music can also boost your explosive strength. This is great for helping you break through weight-training plateaus, sprinting and other movements that require as much force as possible in the least amount of time.
Getting into shape is only partially a result of the exercise you do. Much more important is the way you eat.
Cornell University studied how music impacts our eating habits. They discovered that playing slow and soft music reduced the speed and the quantity at which people ate. So if you’re looking for some extra help to kick a few extra pounds off the next time you eat, make sure you’ve got some smooth jazz or gentle piano on in the background.
Every year we’re finding more and more ways that music is incredibly beneficial to the human body and mind. There’s literally no excuse for not listening to music all the time. It’s like a perfectly legal high, steroid and painkiller. Is there anything music can’t do?