How to Motivate Movement with Music

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Music, Movement, and Motivation

Music is powerful! It can take you back in time, flooding your mind with memorable moments. It has the ability to relax the body and mind while gently reducing tension and stress. Music therapy has been discovered to improve the ability of coping with chemotherapy in cancer patients, not to mention its ability to motivate the body and mind, building resilience and strength. Many even enjoy listening to soothing music during meditation and yoga practices to bring the body to a calmer “grounded” state of mind, simultaneously enhancing your body and mind connection.

Tune into Your Inner Strength

When exploring new ways to revamp and enhance your exercise program, it may be worth your while to incorporate an upbeat playlist to your iPod for an extra boost of motivation and energy in your training. In the past, music was simply used as background noise in fitness training videos or classes. Today, we have integrated music as a dominant branch of fitness. Classes like Zumba focus on innovative dance rhythms and light-hearted beats as a base to engaging workouts. Even in the expansion of cycle and spin classes, Pilates, rowing classes, swim classes, mediation, and yoga (as mentioned earlier), it is apparent music is incorporated as one of the strongest motivators in the fitness industry. It can inspire movement, showcase personality, lift your spirits, and even make an intense workout seem less challenging.

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” Plato

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Rhythmic Accompaniment Affects Movement

A recent study from the University of Amsterdam experimented by applying music to workout programs to elevate the heart rate in exercisers. The system performed in the study was named the “pace-influencing mode system” and was used to motivate the participants in maintaining their target heart rate for a specific amount of time using a four-step method.

To engage the pace-influencing mode:

  • Match the tempo to the exercisers’ stride and frequency to ensure the connection between the two.
  • Determine the heart rate goal, and the stride frequency and tempo subgoals. For example, if the chorus of the song is a slower beat, the exerciser may reduce speed during chorus and increase speed after bringing the heart rate back to the fat burning zone.
  • Propagate the tempo-to-tempo subgoal desires.
  • Wait for heart rate stabilization.

The system flows through the steps until the exerciser has reached the goal of matching their target heart rate with the tempo of the music. Like high intensity interval training (HIIT) or sprint intervals, music can be a fun yet powerful tool in increasing endurance and speed while promoting fat loss and muscle toning.

Breakout New Beats To Bust Plateaus

At The National Center of Medicine and Science in Sports (CNMSS), a recent study has highlighted music to improve motivation in athletes and reported a motivational effect linked to music correlation, with exercise and positive self-esteem and confidence levels increasing just from warming up to upbeat songs! Additionally, the power of the tunes reduced perceived exertion throughout exercise and facilitated stronger motor coordination. According to the CNMSS, athletes may benefit from the power of music on both a physiological and psychological level, and improve overall health and well-being.

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The Beat of the Music Versus the Beat of Your Heart

Overall, listening to music has the ability to amplify your workout, helping you to perform at your absolute best. Tuning into your playlist may help distract you from any discomfort as you push through the last few reps and sprint to reach your peak rate heart. Get in the zone and watch your body transform while having an enjoyable workout experience! Be creative and integrate new songs and artists on your iPod every few weeks to keep your body and mind engaged and blood pumping hard! On the other hand, if you have a difficult time clearing your mind for a relaxing yoga or meditation session, try implementing soothing tunes to your practices to put your mind at ease. Apps such as 8tracks, Pandora, and iHeartRadio may be useful in helping you select specific music genre playlists related to your specific taste. Now, what are you waiting for? Put your headphones on, get your playlist set, turn the world off, and get in a mind-blowing workout!

 ReferencesChtourou, H., Chaouachi, A., Hammouda, O., Chamari, K., & Souissi, N. (2012). Listening to Music Affects Diurnal Variation in Muscle Power Output. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 33(01), 43-47. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1284398Physiology of sport and exercise: Study guide. (2000). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.Wijnalda, G., Pauws, S., & Stuckenschmidt, H. (2005). A Personalized Music System for Motivation in Sport Performance. Pervasive Computing, 10-15. Retrieved April 17, 2014.rn"

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