We worry so much in the fitness industry about what we consume and how we manipulate our bodies. Food, drink, exercise, supplements. Well guess what? Listening is consuming too. And the ways music can affect, not only your brain but, the way your body responds are more than you think. Specifically, how music can help your workout by impacting your brain.
Let’s face it. There is no escape from music in our world, it is inevitable.
I dare you to go a day without hearing a single song. Go ahead. Close your ears in the grocery store. Turn off your TV. Don’t even think about going on social media. Try not to walk past anyone blasting their music in the car.
If music has an effect on our brain and body and we can’t avoid it, how can we use this to our advantage in our workouts?
THE SCIENTIFIC EFFECTS OF MUSIC ON THE BRAIN
In my research for this article I couldn’t believe what I found. When I say I was drowning in information, I mean middle of the Pacific. And frankly it was boring.
All I could think was how do I include the highlights without boring you all to death. So I’m going to hit you with the fast fact of how music can help your workout by impacting your brain.
Music can be directly related to evoking memories
We see this play out in our day-to-day lives. Like hearing a jingle and immediately thinking of the product in reference. It is even why we have traditions like a wedding song, because it reminds us of that memory.
Here is what the science says. Through music, we can trigger the hippocampus in the brain, which is in charge of memory, to retrieve past memories and even create new ones.
In the same way, the nucleus accumbens ties this music to a dopamine release. So you hear a song that has a positive awesome memory attached to it and you get a burst of dopamine that can be helpful during a workout.
Music is so powerful that it has been shown in studies to bring a spark to Alzheimer’s patients, proven on a literal brain scan. But, it isn’t all positive, our memories can be heavily tied to a song that evokes good or bad feelings. So, pick your music intentionally.
How Do You Use Music’s Memory Evoking Power For Your Workouts?
Have you had a song that takes you back to a point in your life where you felt like a winner? The song that was playing when you won that big game. The jam you and your friends would listen to before a night out. Or even a song you heard at your favorite concert that brings back a smile to your face. Do that exact same thing for your workouts.
The science can be dry and overwhelming, but what you need to do is simple. Cultivate a playlist that is full of songs that remind you of a time in your life when you were excited or trigger a smile on your face. Now, put in your earbuds, get moving and feel the difference in your workout.
People who listen to music are shown to have better mental well-being
In general, when music is a prominent part of a person’s life there is a positive outcome. They are likely to have reduced anxieties due to the higher dopamine levels in their brain. In Harvard studies, this was also linked to better cognitive functions and more feelings of happiness. And the impacts of early music exposure in our childhood has been shown to increase our ability to learn new ideas and concepts.
We know exercise causes an increase in dopamine. But if exercise and music are both methods in which our dopamine levels rise, can you imagine the possibilities when we combine them?
With lowered anxiety due to increased dopamine there would be more enjoyment in each workout. There would be more consistency in a week, month and year. And a consistent workout routine is shown to help mitigate anxiety, stress and depression.
Improved cognitive function and increased feelings of happiness can show an improvement in work performance. Which is also a side effect of a regular workout routine.
Combining music and exercise is clearly powerful. Helping to get your mind and body on the same page.
How Do You Use A Music Driven Mental Well-Being For Your Workouts?
To feel at your body’s physical peak, you also have to be there mentally. If music is a method to help your brain get there then find a soundtrack that speaks to you.
My overall favorite workout playlist is full of throwbacks that bring up great memories. It is one my friend made for my volleyball team back in college. Although that one is not public, here is one with a lot of similar songs – Hits of the 2010s on apple music.
Chellie is coming in with her playlist recommendations on Spotify. Check out 2000s Throwbacks (Top 100 Hits).
And use music more regularly. Start incorporating music into your daily activities. Maybe put your earbuds in while you are grocery shopping or folding laundry. Try swapping a time you usually have the TV on for some music. You will feel the difference!
Music has the ability to affect our emotions
You might be saying “duh” to this one because we have all had a song that makes us well up with tears or have a big smile. What you might not know is the combination of emotions and the memories evoked by the music triggers heavy nostalgia within us. Because of this, music can and does heavily influence who we are. Because really, who we are is a combination of experiences and emotions!
How Music Triggered Emotions Can Help Your Workout
I find a common thread in moving my body and listening to music. They both help me process the emotions going on in my brain. Whether clearing my head with a run, or feeling ALL the emotion at once in a song.
I am actually one of these people that when I run longer distances, I like slower songs. One of my all time favorite songs to play while running is “Supercut” by Lorde. Slower, but still had a great beat.
When you have a lot on your mind and heart, think about what will speak to you in your workout. Use that to select the music or vibe you want. It will help boost your mood and process the tougher emotions while working out. Multitasking at its finest.
I suggest having several playlists that cover your typical moods or vibes. Definitely give them names that evoke the response you want. I have playlists that are called “Fall Vibes”, “Work”, “Throwback”, “Run” all tailored to the mood I am in or activity I am doing!
You can also subscribe to our newsletter and get a workout that is timed completely to the music. Click here to subscribe and get your free workout.
Music is impacting not just our brain, but our entire body
Did you know that it can improve your immune system and bodily functions overall? It has also been shown to improve circulation and to reduce blood pressure. Conveniently, that is also a desired outcome of a balanced lifestyle of exercise and nutrition.
Music’s ability to lower stress and increase cortisol levels can even lead to pain reduction, studies show. Not to suggest your workouts should be painful, but we have all been there. The fatigue, the burn. Well with the right music that fatigue and burn might be just a little less the next time.
How Music’s Impact On Your Entire Body Can Help Your Workouts
I love the thought that by listening to music and working out, I am doing two things that help my body function better overall. So when I am dragging going into a workout I have learned that the first thing I need is music.
Start making music a part of your routine to help you find your workout flow. Yes, flow is a real thing. It is actually studied heavily in sports psychology. I touch more on flow in 5 Ways Music Can Impact Your Workouts in 2022. But if you want to know and understand how music can help your workout by impacting your brain you need to make music part of your routine.
Start Using Music To Help Your Workout and Life By Impacting Your Brain
There are few things that you can do this week that can change not only the way you think about music, but your whole daily routine.
As a community, we challenge you to find ways to incorporate discipline over motivation. Music is no exception. Here are 3 small things you can do today to help you use music to reach your goals.
There is no bad place to start
Research states that whether actively listening or in background, music will have an impact. If you are looking to simply just see how music can change your life and productivity the best tip I have is to just start playing it in the background. You might just find, like I have, that it can help you stay focused on the task at hand.
My current favorite productivity playlist on Apple Music: “Hanging Out” by Apple Music. And a little known fact is that Mike has built an incredible playlist on Spotify that Chellie is obsessed with – Batman Chill. If you want more information on how to use music in your workouts read The Power That Music Has On Your Workout and How To Use It.
In fact, as I am writing this article I turned off the TV and turned on this playlist. Let me tell you, I have gotten more done in 5 minutes with music than 20 minutes without. It really does work!
Use music as the tool that it is
Because it can just have such a large part in our feelings, why wouldn’t we use it to our advantage to help our mood. I encourage you, next time you are having a bad day or it is just one of those Mondays, try putting on your favorite song.
Whether it is happy and upbeat or sad and slow, I guarantee that it will drive you away from the mundane. The impact of music will influence your mood greatly. Try these other tips for cultivating positivity.
How Music Can Help Your Workout By Impacting Your Brain
If a series of notes and rhythms can go as far as to counteract a disease like Alzheimers, what else that goes into our ear impacts how we live?
In the next week, be mindful of everything you are consuming. Even go as far as writing it down, whether in a notebook or get more organized by using a journal. Note what makes you feel good versus what is not helping your goals. This is not only a great start to your music journey, but can create great journaling habits.
Now You Know How Music Can Help Your Workout By Impacting Your Brain
The impact music and exercise have on our body is not something to be taken lightly. With this knowledge in hand, maybe it will cause you to think twice about what you are putting between your ears. We care so much about what we are putting our body through in exercise because we know its effects. Why are we not giving the same power to music?
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