It turns out there is a scientific definition for “Grooving Out. In the study: "Groove," is described as “...a musical quality that can induce movement in a listener.” This means combining music with exercise is a surefire way to boost endorphin release.
The Elusive "Runners High"
Many runners brag about their "runners high", that feeling of their body and mind working seamlessly together. That feeling can actually happen during any strenuous exercise. After about an hour the brain releases opioids, such as endorphins. This chemical makes you feel less stressed, happier, giddier, and pain-free.
Endorphins (in the context of fitness) are a response to stress on the body, when the body has determined it has experienced enough stress (about one hour into s workout) it releases serotonin, and other chemicals, and then a rush of endorphins.
But why does music make exercise seem so much more epic? One study says that music “[...]has the same effect on your brain as sex and drugs. It’s a double whammy of feels: intense exercise when you’re in the zone and the perfect chorus, both are hitting your brain receptors to form the perfect harmony. Exercising with music is scientifically proven to boost your performance, and since you’re enjoying the music (remember its effect is akin to sex and drugs) you’re probably going to enjoy your workout a lot more.
How To Put Together The Perfect Playlist With BPM
But before you put on just any old song it’s important to know a couple of things about how to “pair up” your workout and playlist, because harmony matters. Think of it this way: why is it, if you plan for a high-intensity spin session and the music is off, maybe just a couple beats too slow, you can’t seem to push as hard as you planned? Better yet, you don’t feel like you’re as motivated to crush your workout.
The secret lies in our brains. We like to synchronize our movements with the tempo of the music. If the music is moving at a slower tempo than you anticipated your spin session to be, you’re going to feel like moving slower.
When you break down music to its BPM, beats per minute, it’s easy to determine if the music is too slow or fast for the type of workout you’re doing. We found some guidelines (below) that you can follow for putting the right playlist to the right workout.
The New York Times Says: “For a stroll walker going at a pace of around 3 miles an hour, a remixed track has a count of 115 to 118 B.P.M.; for a power walker going 4.5 m.p.h., the count is 137 to 139 B.P.M., while the B.P.M. for a runner elevates to 147 to 160.”
Getting Your Groove On
You can narrow down your workout music selection by one last element. Ask yourself if the track qualifies as “high-groove music”, which is a song that has a high beat salience (or prominent or noticeable and catchy beats.)
Compared to low-groove music, listeners of high-groove music will have longer and quicker steps. It also has a stronger effect even in comparison to a higher tempo “non-high-groove” song. Good music genres to source a high-groove workout playlist are: “funk, soul, hip-hop and electronic dance music,” says one study.
We’ll leave you with these final tips for the perfect workout:
- Make sure you’re putting together tracks that make you want to get your groove on (what science calls “high-groove” music).
- Pay attention to the BPM (how fast the tempo of the tracks are) and how fast you want the tempo of your workout to be, and sync up.
It's important to remember that your body likes to synchronize - so think at a slower pace for mindful strength training sessions, and beats your feet can hit the pavement in rhythm for heart-pounding, cardio sessions. Listening to music before a workout can also play a big part in motivating you to get up and head to the gym. Having the right tempo will motivate you to go harder, keep you grooving out, and make you smile through the sweat.
BCRX Content Writer, Klarrisa Arafa