With January being our inaugural issue, we thought we’d tip our hats to that age-old tradition of the New Year’s resolution. TV commercials aplenty urge you to join the local gym and take your fitness seriously. As part of your new fitness regimen you grab your trusty earbuds, tune in to your favorite jams and hop to it. Little do you know, your choice in music just might sabotage how effective that workout can be.
Research shows music has specific effects on heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. Physiological effects and physical exertion are in direct proportion with the tempo of the music – meaning the faster the music, the faster the heart rate; the slower the tempo, the slower the breathing pattern. These effects thus improve the effectiveness of those squats and minutes on the treadmill during exercise.
Certain genres are better suited for different workout cycles. For instance, rap and hip-hop are best for stretching and running, dance for strength training, and pop is best for your warmup and cooldown. Unfortunately for rock fans, it’s best to avoid the licks and riffs because the variable rhythms cause you to lose the steady pace needed during a workout.
However, researchers determined that one’s personal playlist defeats those previously mentioned benefits. While they could not be specific, it was speculated these playlists act as a distraction during your workout ultimately preventing you from achieving the increased effects seen with similar music. The exception to this rule is the music of your adolescence and early adulthood. Researchers suggest these songs make you feel young and energetic, maximizing the musical effect on your workout.
A good playlist will also keep you moving, motivating you through any pain or fatigue you might experience. Hopefully this information will help you get your pulse racing, maximize your workout, and accomplish that New Year’s resolution. Remember, feel like a kid and rock a steady beat. Good luck!