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Psychological Effects of Music While Exercising

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Many people believe that music helps them workout in any way you consider working out ranging from cardio training to resistance training to yoga. Is the music actually helping you during your workout or is it just there playing in the background for no actual purpose? I believe personally the music does help you while you work out just from personal experience. However, some people may have other opinions that being they believe the music does not help them or they are indifferent about music while they workout or exercise. In this paper I will give different studies showing different types of workouts with and without music with the effects the music had on the people during the activity. I will also give the effects of just music that is playing in the background compared to music that is coming out of headphones going directly in your ear. We will also be looking at if music helps calm your anxiety and stress levels during physical activity. Lastly, we will be looking at if music helps runners in achieving their goals under high physical exertion.

There was a study done that involved eighteen women doing different exercises with and without music varying from heavy, medium, and light works in which their heart rates were monitored in all of them (Boutcher,1990) It was shown in the results that the music does help with some aspects of lifting the weights by the music motivating some and easing the weight and allowing them to lift the heavier weight a little bit easier (Boutcher,1990).

According to a study done by Karageorghis in 1997 “scientific research has failed to reveal a strong link between music and motor activity” (Karageorghis,1997). In other words, saying that music does not help or boost a person while doing some sort of physical activity. There was also another study that had to do with different tempos of music ranging from fast to slow and different volumes of music ranging from loud to quiet then there was a group that was absent of music (Edworthy,2006). These categories of music were being used with the use of treadmill exercises and workouts. It was proven that the use of music significantly helped the people on the treadmill more than the people on the treadmill without music. The study showed that the people running with no music had higher hemodynamic and lactate measure compared to the people who were running with music. However, there was not a change in the amount of oxygen the people were breathing in. This shows that the music does help you breathe better or get more air into your lungs easier with or without music. The music also showed that the loudness of the music has a lot to do with the heart rate of the person running on the treadmill also.

Music has a very positive affect on people while running compared to no music at all (Edworthy,2006). One study of music had to do with the different genres of music with sixteen middle aged women doing a step test (Hayakawa,2000). The study showed that the music did not help the women perform this task as easily as it normally would have with music because the music genre, they were playing they did not like too much. So, music helping you during a workout most of the time will only have positive effects on you if the music is a genre you prefer or like. Music has proven that it increases the muscular endurance in people. Music while exercising gives you a better overall mood during your workout which can bring better more effective workouts. One bad thing about music that has been shown in many different studies is that the music can become a distraction to many people. Which a distraction leads to not as effective and bad results. Many people believe as well that the type of music you are listening to goes right along with the synchronization of whatever you are doing. So, say for instance if you are doing a high intensity dance class you will need faster more upbeat intense music to have your body going at the right speed instead of a slow song (Hayakawa,2000).

Music does have stress relieving effects during exercising because low toned music during physical activity is somewhat like therapy on the brain. Low toned music while exercising can also bring back memory to people (White,1999). Due to the mellow tone of the music the tone puts people in very calm states and allows them to be thoughtless and allows them to be at a stress-free state of mind. Music however can act in a bad way to some people as it can bring back bad memories and make the person at an even more stressful state (White,1999). According to Rowell in 1984 he claimed that music and exercising had different functions. One being that exercising and music both help bring the mind and body to an equilibrium and two it creates the pleasure of sensation through movement in physical activity (Yehuda,2011). In other words, saying that music and physical activity go hand in hand with each other by giving the person a stress-free environment.

Music being played in the background compared to being played out of headphones has no difference on the human body during activity. The only concept that matters is how loud or soft the music is being played because that is what determines how effective the music will be to the person listening.

Many people may believe that music helps runners in events such as long distance runs or short distance runs, but what people do not realize is that the music does not actually help you with you your heart rate or blood pressure. In a study that had four different runners running on a treadmill four different times each with a new genre of music (Tenebaum,2004). The genres included rock, dance, inspirational music, and one without music. While they were running people were running tests on their heart rates and perceived exertion. The results showed that the music did not actually help them during the run; however, the people said the music helped them at the very beginning of the run (Tenebaum,2004).

Music can be very positive in many ways but now you know that the music is not actually helping you that much during your lifts other than helping reduce stress. Some things I plan on trying to find out more in the future about music and exercise include what is the best possible genre of music to listen to during physical activity for the best results, and what is the worst type of genre to listen to during physical activity.

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