September 27, 2022

The power of music on our movement

Music is a powerful tool which has the ability trigger emotions, motivate us, and encourage us to get moving.

The benefits of music are seemingly endless, especially when it comes exercise.

So, let’s dive in and take a look at some of the reasons why music is so powerful and does wonders for our movement.

Music can help you increase your workout duration

Have you ever started a run and found yourself loving your playlist so much that you’ve ended up running for longer than you planned? Or perhaps you’ve thought you’d only be able to do 5 squat jumps, but then all of a sudden Beyoncé starts playing and you somehow manage 10?

When we listen to music, our minds become slightly distracted. When listening to music, the music competes with the feeling of exertion in our brains which in turn can help to delay our mental desire to “give in” – basically, listening to music leads to a delay in our bodies recognising fatigue which can often mean we’re able to go for a little longer.

Music also can change our perception of exertion (i.e. how hard we’re working). For example, if the “drop” of a song is coming, we might subconsciously speed up, push a little harder or hold out a little longer to match the song even when our bodies are starting to fatigue.


Music can help you perform better in high intensity workouts and push through fatigue

Excitingly, music has the ability to help improve our performance especially when it comes to high intensity workouts such as running intervals, HIIT and Bootcamp.

A study published in the journal Psychology of Sport & Exercise found that heart rate and peak power output are higher when listening to upbeat and motivational music as opposed to a podcast or nothing at all. The participants in that study also reported that they actually loved moving their bodies with intensity even more when pairing their movement with music.

Another study also found that when we listen to music, we’re able to more easily combat and push through our fatigue. Our bodies are actually so much more capable than we think!


Music can help you keep pace

For anyone who is a fan of running or Dance Cardio or other workout styles that work well with a beat, listening to music while completing these types of movements is a great way to help you keep your pace consistent and your moves in time.

Costas Karageorghis, an associate professor of sports psychology at Brunel University in England and one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of exercise music recommends listening to music between 120 to 140 beat per minute when exercising as this aligns with the typical heart rate range during a workout. However, it’s important to take into consideration your fitness level and the TYPE of workout you’re completing as these will impact your heart rate.

For example, when taking on a beginner Pilates class where the movements are slower and more controlled your heart rate will be much lower than when taking on a cardio Pilates class where the movements are more vigorous.

It’s here that we want to remind you that the intensity of the workout doesn’t determine the quality of the workout. However, by pairing the right tunes that you love and matching the pace of the movement, you’re going to be in for a great workout!


Music is a motivator!

Would you believe that studies have been conducted to see how the “grooviness” of a song impacts our movement? One study found that high-groove music better engages and activates our motor system so no wonder so many of us love working out to some JB and Lizzo.

Music also has such a strong impact on the brain especially when it comes to dopamine – a type of neurotransmitter which allows us to feel pleasure, satisfaction and motivation. So why is music such a powerful tool in motivating us to move? To put it simply, when we listen to music we love, our bodies react and release more dopamine and that dopamine makes us feel good and in turn when we feel good, we feel more motivated to move!

So, there’s really nothing to lose by hitting play on your favourite tunes when looking to exercise. Not only are you more likely to enjoy the time you spend moving, but you’ll also likely push yourself a little harder without realising and feel even better after.

So it’s no wonder that so many of us choose to workout to music!