Some prefer exercising in silence – time to oneself, thinking of nothing other than the job in hand. However, since the introduction of aerobic dance in the early 70’s, there has been an abundance of research into the effects of music on exercise performance. As a business, we offer a variety of classes all of which are to music and so for us, this is a particularly interesting subject.
Most, if not all fitness classes are run to music. Take a highly charged step or circuit training class – the majority will incorporate fast-paced, loud music, the beat matching the tempo required for the class. Why? Well, imagine a class without music? It would be pretty staid, boring and monotonous for a start. Instead, it provides atmosphere and energy and most people love hearing their favourite tune and find it both motivational and uplifting. Music has a proven effect on body and the mind and can be used in a variety of ways to suit the exercise in which you’re partaking. For example, slower, quieter music is used for classes such as pilates and yoga and provide a sense of calm and relaxation. It’s all about relevancy and atmosphere and music can provide the backdrop for every scenario.
A reduction in feelings of fatigue
Instead of focussing on the physical and mental sensations of fatigue, music provides a distraction. Our minds focus on the music as opposed to how we’re feeling. Of course, fatigue will vary from person-to-person, depending on fitness levels and ability. However, music can enable you to push that little bit harder when you would otherwise be ready to throw-in the towel, quite literally.
An increase in mental arousal
Music has the ability to alter the mind’s arousal state which results in increased performance. This basically means that music enables the mind to psych itself up and so we perform better. Research shows that there is a direct connection between auditory neurons and motor neurons. Or, in layman’s terms, regardless of what we hear, your brain and body will react in a positive manner.
Exercising to music helps to improve motor coordination. It would be very hard running a class with no music as there would be no beat to follow and so getting everyone doing the right movements, at the right times, would be nigh on impossible. When the body is in synch with the music, we all experience a boost in confidence thus creating a positive association with exercise.
Music and relaxation
Strenuous exercise creates a build-up of lactic acid in the muscles. As a result, our breathing increases as we attempt to take in more oxygen to these working muscle groups. This is aerobic exercise. Some exercises promote too much lactic acid and our body is unable to deliver the required oxygen to break this down. This means the working muscles generate energy anaerobically. This energy comes from glucose which is broken down into a substance called pyruvate. When oxygen is limited, pyruvate is temporarily converted into a substance called lactate. We’ll quit the scientific talk now, but essentially this is where you will feel ‘the burn’ and magically, music can actually help to dampen feelings of muscle fatigue.
Most classes will have different ‘sections’ or phases. If we take Body Pump as an example here, we utilise different tracks for different muscle groups. It provides a finite beginning and end to each exercise and as muscles are tiring, we know the end of the track is in our sights and we strive for completion and the opportunity to move onto the next phase of the class.
Getting our bodies moving and our heart rates elevated to a fat-burning, endorphin-producing target heart rate is what it’s all about. Once everyone is caught up in the atmosphere of music, the mind naturally flows and you’ll find the end of the class is here and you haven’t once checked the clock.
If you’d like to talk to us about the classes we offer or book into a class, contact us now on 07707 891824 or email gravityfitnesslive.co.uk