Did you know scientists have a definition for “Grooving Out?” In the study: Musical Groove Modulates Motor Cortex Excitability[...]; Groove, is described as “...a musical quality that can induce movement in a listener.” Pairing music with exercise can only be a recipe for success, since both encourage the brain to release those feel good endorphins, we love so much.
Runners love to brag about “runners high”, coupled with that moment the beat drops and their feet are seemingly floating. But actually, that exclusive “runner's high” can happen during any intense exercise, once you hit the one hour mark the brain is going to release opioids, like endorphins. Ya know, Endorphins, the chemical that 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 of intense exercise) it releases serotonin, 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 it’s affect is akin to sex and drugs) you’re probably going to enjoy your workout a lot more.
But before you put on just any old song it’s important to know a couple 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 brain. We like to synchronize our movements with the tempo of 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 it’s 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.”
But there’s one last element that might just help you pick the perfect tracks: making sure the track qualifies as “high-groove music”, which is music that has a high beat salience (prominent or noticeable and catchy beats.) Compared to low-groove music, listeners of high-groove music will have longer and quicker steps. High groove music has a stronger affect even in comparison to a higher tempo “non-high-groove” song. Good music genres to source your perfect high-groove workout playlist are: “funk, soul, hip-hop and electronic dance music,” says one study.
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.
Remember, the body likes to synchronize: so think slower tempos for mindful strength training sessions, and beats your feet can hit the pavement in rhythm too for heart-pounding running sessions. Listening to music while working out can also play a big part in motivating you to get up and workout. The right tempo will push you to go harder, make sure you’re grooving out, and put a smile on your face while you’re pouring sweat on a hot summer day.
BCRX Content Writer, Klarrisa Arafa