Music And Fitness: Exercise Your Right To Rock!
Music can make us laugh, cry, inspire and more. When applied to our training it can help us add more distance, weight, or reps. Here's some background about music & exercise and the lists that get me pumped. What's yours?
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It's your last set of those dreaded squats. You've expelled every last ounce of energy on the set before. You look at the Squat Cage and curse under your breath. You get under the bar and lift. You shoot for 8 reps.
On your ascent from rep number four, you take note that the gym's sound system is playing the song that reminds you of your last significant other. I believe the song is called "Cheated On You With the Patriot's Mascot."
You remember that the Patriot's Mascot is called a Minuteman... and you immediately sulk into the woes of Loserville. You lose track and reach the top of that fourth rep but just can not focus to pull out another grueling rep and you end up racking the bar.
You are working on your final five minutes on the treadmill. You are "in the zone". Bobbi Joe stands right next to you asking "Oh my gosh, did you hear about Susie Lyn? She actually got a job!" Now we can't do anything about your ex or Bobbi Joe but you can control your auditory environment. It's time to slap your iPod on.
Music And Cardio
Since the 1970's, aerobic classes have included high intensity music. Today the aerobic pace and movements are actually sometime dependant on the music. We have Samba Classes and Hip Hop Classes among dozens of others.
Not only can you look good but you can also get smarter. A 2004 study from Ohio State University found that working out to music may give you a cognitive boost. Listening to music while exercising helped cardiac rehabilitation patients in this study increase scores on a verbal fluency test.
In 1998 a study from Italy was published - Different types of music were found to activate different nervous system and endocrine system (glands) changes.
The aim of the experiment was to check out the possible combination of emotional and endocrine changes in response to techno-music. Sixteen healthy people (18- to 19-year-olds, eight males and eight females) were exposed, in random order, to techno-music or to classical music (30 min each).
Plasma norepinephrine (NE), epinephrine (EPI), growth hormone (GH), prolactin (PRL), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), cortisol (CORT), beta-endorphin (beta-EP) concentrations and changes of emotional state were measured. Techno-music was associated with a significant increase in heart rate, systolic blood pressure and significant changes in self-rated emotional states.
A significant increase was observed in beta-EP, ACTH, NE, GH and CORT after listening to techno-music. Classical music induced an improvement in emotional state, but no significant changes in hormonal concentrations. No differences between male and female response to music have been found.
Plasma levels of PRL and EPI were unaffected by techno and classical music. Listening to techno-music induces changes in neurotransmitters, peptides and hormonal reactions, related to mental state and emotional involvement: personality traits and temperament may influence the wide individual difference in response to music.
I've wanted to do a cardio dance class for a while now. I have about as much coordination as a drunkard on a high wire, but I still think it would be a fun way of getting the much dreaded cardio out of the way.
As I was researching this article, I found a few new motivators. Several clinical reports suggest that dance cardio helps people accomplish the following: develop positive body image, improve self-concept and self-esteem, reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, decrease isolation, chronic pain, and body tension, increase communication skills, and encourage a sense of well-being.
If you paint pictures in your mind to different songs and you have specific goals you are training for, then you may have those songs that make you think of yourself in the winner's circle, out with a hot date in a pimped out outfit, running after your children, or whatever you specific fitness goal is. You can select motivational music to help you push through your 40 minutes on the treadmill or your mountain biking trek.
You can find a huge selection of pre-made cardio CD's ready to throw in your CD player or upload to your iPod. Why not customize your own?
Music: The Intensity Aid!
We all know that music gets us pumped and ready to go for our work out, but do we actually use it to its fullest? I am going to tell you how.
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We all have different songs that motivate us. I mean if Barry Manalow's "Mandy" makes you feel like a wild man/woman, then by all means crank that puppy up! No one will think you're weird. Well, actually... yes they will but that's not the point. Be unique and create a list that moves you.
What does my list for cardio look like? The following songs motivate me to reach my cardio goals.
Ron's Cardio Music:
- Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love
- Rihanna - Umbrella
- Natasha Bedingfield - Pocketful of Sunshine
- Queensryche - Best I Can
- Madonna/Justin Timberlake - 4 Minutes
- Aerosmith - Sweet Emotion
- Blondie - Heart of Glass
- Jay-Z - 99 Problems
- Bon Jovi - I Am
- Bryan Adams - Summer of '69
- Creed - Higher
- Fuel - Quarter
- Guns N' Roses - Paradise City
- Heart - Barracuda
- Hinder - Homecoming Queen
- Kid Rock - All Summer Long
- Michael Buble - Save the Last Dance for Me
- Alien Ant Farm - Smooth Criminal
- Motley Crue - Dr. Feelgood
- Sean Kingston - Me Love
Music And Weight Lifting
Can anyone honestly say that "We Will Rock You" by Queen or "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor doesn't get your engine going? There are just certain songs that unleash something primal in us and we in turn need to turn that extra potential energy into some kinetic energy.
Heavier music has the tendency to subconsciously increase the presence of the part of our brain that is responsible for feeling anger, and as such, makes gaining an adrenaline "rush" much easier. Heavy music is a good music to propel the mind/body connection.
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Interestingly there's a part of the brain in the prefrontal area that responds very rapidly to anger, within 200 milliseconds. And what's been interesting about anger is it really depends on - the response will vary a lot because of a person's background and environment - whether someone's able to let loose, and just let their anger go, or whether they're trying to suppress it.
In the gym you have a right to express controlled anger on the weights (while being careful on your form). And if someone's having a kind of automatic anger response where they're ready to let it out on something, you can see activity in a part of the brain called the amygdala, which is a very old part of the brain, and seems to respond in quite an automatic way to threat-related emotions - whether we're feeling scared or we're actually angry at something.
The amygdalae are almond-shaped groups of nuclei located deep within the medial temporal lobes of the brain in complex vertebrates, including humans. Shown in research to perform a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions, the amygdalae are considered part of the limbic system.
How many times have we looked at the weight in front of us and thought, "Oh cr@p, how the h#ll am I going to move that?". I tend to gravitate toward heavier music in which the lyrics move/inspire me. There are some songs on my list in which the lyrics do nothing for me but I just can't deny the music.
The important thing once again, is to throw together a list which motivates you. Let me tell you the best personal example of music affecting my work outs.
I was 14 years old and doing barbell curls with my best friend Brian. It was a hot summer day and we were training in my parent's garage. We both had our horrible Mullet's going. I was curling a weight that ordinarily would only allow me about 8-10 reps.
"In the Burning Heart" by Survivor and from the Rocky III film came on the radio and I just got so immersed in it that I far surpassed my normal 6-10 reps and I swear I cranked out close to 40 reps! That was four times my average!
So what's on my weight training list today?
Ron's Weight Training Music:
- Van Halen - Don't Tell Me What Love Can Do
- Survivor - Eye of the Tiger
- Smile Empty Soul - Bottom of the Bottle
- Skid Row - The Threat
- Sixx A.M - Life is Beautiful
- Savatage - Paragons of Innocence
- Queen - We Will Rock You
- Ozzy Osbourne - Over the Mountain
- Nickelback - Animals
- Nickelback - Fight For All The Wrong Reasons
- Motley Crue - Kickstart My Heart
- Stone Temple Pilots - Sex Type Thing
- Lillian Axe - Stop the Hate
- Kid Rock - Bawitdaba
- Guns N' Roses - Welcome to the Jungle
- Fuel - Die Like This
- Metallica - For Whom the Bell Tolls
- Dream Theater - Burning My Soul
- Daughtry - What I Want
- Creed - What If
- Bon Jovi - Its My Life
- Alter Bridge - Metalingus
- Aerosmith - Walk This Way
I often say that there's a song for every situation we face in life. Music can make us laugh, cry, drift away, and inspire us to surpass our limitations. When applied to our training routines it can help us add more distance, weight, or reps. What lifts the soul, lifts one's limitations.
Everyone's musical tastes are as different as everyone's bodies. You need to use/listen to what moves you. Make your list and exercise your right to rock!
Oh, and if your significant other is indeed dating the Patriot's mascot, kidnap the Minuteman and instead send her the New Orleans mascot, The Saint.