Music and Exercise at SFI’s Clinical Department:

Clinical Department Manager of Sobriety Foundation, Inc., Dennis Dyoco, together with Music Psychology Center, regularly conducts Music-Enhanced Therapy for neurocircuitry and neuroplasticity. A growing body of research suggests that music directly affects exercise motivation. Here are four ways music affects movement. 

1. Music reduces feelings of fatigue.

Research indicates that music keeps us from focusing on the physical sensations of fatigue, particularly during lower-intensity exercise. Distraction from fatigue varies from person to person, as everyone’s personal fitness level plays a role, but music can help you push yourself harder during your workouts.

2. Music increases mental arousal.

“Altering the mind’s arousal state with music will result in an increased exercise performance, as if the music is ‘psyching’ one up to perform exercise better,” wrote researchers Karageorghis and Terry in their review of the psychophysical effects of music in sport and exercise (1997). Additional research has known that there are direct connections between auditory neurons to motor neurons. In other words, regardless of what you hear, your brain and body will react.

3. Music improves motor coordination.

Exercising to music can help motor and movement coordination, such as moving to the beat of the music during a group fitness class. When the body is in sync with music, people often experience a boost in self-confidence, which creates a positive association with exercise.

4. Music increases relaxation.

“Some of the byproduct molecules of high level exercise, such as acidosis and elevated hormones (which contribute to fatigue), may somehow be dampened by music, thus enhancing performance,” wrote researchers Szmedra and Bacharach, who examined the effects of classical music on cycling to exhaustion (1998).

About Music and Exercise

Speed and tempo are the two most important factors that affect exercise intensity. It is ideal to start your warm-up with a slower song (120 to 126 bpm) and gradually increase the speed according to the type of exercise you will be doing. For weight lifting and general cardio, choose music that is between 128 to 135pm. For relaxation, choose music that is less than 100 bpm.

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