Sports Sciences

Most people in the world who workout are always looking for new ways they can improve their training or ways just to get more out of an exercise. My question is can listening to music improve your ability to work out more intensely and increase your output? This question of whether or not music is an aid has been a long discussed topic on whether or not music bears any effect on improving ones activity in sport or exercise. Many studies have concluded that music can improve your endurance, extend your workouts and can be used as a mind setting tool.

Other studies have found results that find listening to music while exercising can actually be detrimental and ineffective towards working out. In such studies the claims have been made that music can actually lower your want to exercise, can cause hearing damage and worsen your grip when it comes to weight lifting. The side I personally side with is that of the studies who find music as a positive aid for working out. My reasoning for siding with the side that argues music does improve exercise is from my own personal experience I’ve used music to motivate me and it has worked.

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Now in my question I posed I want to know if music improves your ability to workout and increase your output. To specify ability is not limited to only the physical traits, the effect music has on you mentally while working out will be address as well. Also to define what I mean by increasing output I mean an increase in any of these key factors: aerobic capacity, muscle fatigue and overall mental state. Music itself is made of many components such as tempo, beat, and style of music. Which of the components of music are the ones that help or hinder our ability to exercise?

In a survey given to 70 college students (35 males and 35 females) enrolled in an aerobic dance class indicated that 97% of the students felt (perceived influence) that the music affected their performance during aerobic activity (Gfeller, 1988). Respondents identified the following factors which influenced their aerobic performance: music style (97%), rhythm beat (94%), tempo (96%), lyrics (77%), volume (66%), mood (37%), and melody (17%). These results of the survey show what people perceive as the components or factors of music that have a role in music being used while exercising.

The effects music can have on one’s performance in exercise can be measured in more than just apparent workout results. Another effect for example is that listening to music while working out can improve the mental state and feeling associated with exercising. This idea of exercise improving mental state and feelings of exercising were found in a study conducted by Len Kratiz. In the article of Len Kratiz’s study he makes a statement that says “Music in many ways may improve a person’s enjoyment and compliance to a fitness program” (Kratiz, 3).

This statement makes the point that with listening to music it can bring more enjoyment out of exercise to a person and make them want to stick with fitness programs more. “Music is great while you’re running. It can inspire you, stir emotions that help you run faster and harder,” says Louise Graffeo and fitness expert for Golds Gym (Graffeo 2005). From Graffeo’s comment it is evident that music has a positive role in effecting exercise. Also from the comment the point that music can not only improve the physical aspects of working out but also the mental region that comes with exercising is made.

When people listen to music while exercising, most listen to the type of music that is high tempo and loud in nature. Working out with music has been linked to hearing damage, because people tend to play songs at higher volumes to motivate themselves. Hearing thresholds were measured in 12 subjects prior to and following their participation in three experimental conditions: (a) riding a cycle ergometer for 20 minutes; (b) listening to a selection of music at an equivalent intensity of 96 dB (A) SPL for 20 minutes; and (c) listening to the music while riding the cycle ergometer for 20 minutes.

Analysis of the results shows a measurable and statistically greater noise-induced temporary threshold shift, also known as (NITTS) for the music plus exercise condition that for either of the other two conditions. The greatest differences were seen in the 3-6 kHz frequency range. Spokesman for the study Donald Reed claimed “results are suggestive that when music and exercise are combined hearing damage could occur” (Reed 2007). This statement proves music can be harmful when used with exercise.

There however is a simple fix to this and it is just to limit your iPod, or mp3 player to a safe threshold for volume. Even though someone who would argue and make the point music and working out coupled together can cause hearing loss is a valid argument, but it has a simple fix to it so it should not be seen as a reason to not use music while exercising. Just how music impacts the body during exercise, however, is only slowly being found out by scientists.

One study published last year found that basketball players prone to performing poorly under pressure during games were significantly better during high-pressure free-throw shooting if they first listened to catchy, upbeat music and lyrics (in this case, the Monty Python classic “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”). ” The music seemed to distract the players from themselves, from their audience and from thinking about the physical process of shooting” said Christopher Mesagno, a lecturer at the University of Ballarat in Victoria, Australia, and the study’s lead author.

What Mesagno proved is that music can distract the body to do what it knew how to do without interference from the brain. The music was occupying attention that might have been misdirected otherwise. Music can be more than a distraction but also used to aid in muscle endurance. Music accompaniment has been shown to improve muscular endurance in the performance of junior high students doing sit-ups (Chipman, 1966) and college women doing push-ups (Koschak, 1975) In a well-designed study, Schwartz, Fernhall and Plowman (1990) investigated the effect of music on submaximal bicycle performance with untrained college men and women.

Music exhibited no significant influence on any physiological variable measured. In addition, the perception of effort was not altered with or without the music, although subjects did feel that had they performed better with the music. As stated by Schwartz “There was no significant increase in performance from the control and music groups” (Schwartz). This statement is significant because unlike most studies conducted Schwartz’s found no improvement with music.

Also this statement illustrates that all of these studies have inconsistencies in the effects music can have. Some of them deemed music did have an effect on performance and others did not. What can be gained from looking at these studies is that the study of the effects music has had very inconsistent data and results. Studies need to look more at the key aspects of exercise past just results, so as to see if music actually bears any effect. The effect music has on exercise occurs through the mind and then carried out through the body.

Scientific study has revealed five key ways in which music can influence preparation and competitive performances: dissociation, arousal regulation, synchronization, acquisition of motor skills, and attainment of flow. Dissociation is a very powerful to when exercising During submaximal exercise, music can narrow attention, in turn diverting the mind from sensations of fatigue. This diversionary technique, known to psychologists as dissociation, lowers perceptions of effort.

In a statement made by Bishop he said “music is and effective tool for promoting and can promote a positive mood state, turning the attention away from thoughts of senses of fatigue”(Bishop 2007). This statement is explaining the effects music can promote when used with exercise. More specifically, positive aspects of mood such as vigor and happiness become heightened, while negative aspects such as tension, depression, and anger are assuaged (Bishop, Karageorghis, & Loizou, 2007). This effect however only works in low and moderate exercise intensities only.

It has actual been found that in high intensity workouts music bears no effect and is basically useless. More than just the physical aspects of exercise are changed with music. This is apparent when Bishops gave a speech on the effects of music he said “Music alters emotional and physiological arousal and can therefore be used prior to competition or training as a stimulant, or as a sedative to calm “up” or anxious feelings” (Bishop et al. , 2007). What Bishops summary on arousal regulation means is that music can be used to stimulate or to calm down.

So in the case of exercise music can be used to stimulate a person to perceivably want to workout more and with great intensity. This case also proves that an athlete can in fact psych themselves up with music and possibly perform better do to the stimulation. Synchronization is an important tool to working out. Research has consistently shown that the synchronization of music with repetitive exercise is associated with increased levels of work output. This applies to such activities as rowing, cycling, cross-country skiing, and running.

Musical tempo can regulate movement and thus prolonging performance. In a seminar given by Bacon Meyers he made a statement about music and synchronization saying “Synchronizing movements with music also enables athletes to perform more efficiently, again resulting in greater endurance”(Meyers 2008). Meyers statement is significant in that it once again is proving that music has a positive impact upon exercise by enhancing synchronization. Also what this study of synchronization by Bacon proves is that music can have a positive effect of creating a beat or tempo for an

athlete to follow and allows them to perform longer, as well as more efficiently. Music can also effect more than mood but also motor skills. Music can impact positively on the acquisition of motor skills. Think back to elementary school days and your initial physical education lessons, which were probably set to music. This is done purposefully according to Maynard who said “Music-accompanied dance and play created opportunities to explore different planes of motion and improve coordination” (Maynard 2006).

What Maynard is saying is that music has ability to allow a person to acquire skills quicker and they will associate them more positively do to the music used when learning them. A athlete or person’s workout flow state has been show to improve with music. Recent research in sports settings has indeed found that music promotes flow states. Using a single-subject, multiple-baselines design, Pates, Karageorghis, Fryer, and Maynard (2003) examined the effects of pre-task music on flow states and netball shooting performance of three collegiate players.

Two participants reported an increase in their perception of flow, and all three showed considerable improvement in shooting performance. The researchers concluded “That interventions including self-selected music and imagery could enhance athletic performance by triggering emotions and cognitions associated with flow” (Pates,Fryer 2003). What the study did was finding that an athlete can use music to tap into his so called “natural flow” relaxing him/her into a sort of performance mood. Music in this case did have a positive impact on the subjects.

All five of the key ways music can affect a person’s body are very powerful. The studies conducted and data show that music goes far beyond just the use as a motivational tool for exercise. What also came with the studies was other ways to apply music to athletics and other areas outside the confines of what is seen as the normal workout environment. The five key ways basically opened up broaden the positive effects music has on physical activity. There have been many studies on the question if music does or doesn’t improve physical activity in sports and working out.

Most of the studies I have found have proven that music does actually have a positive effect on exercising. With these findings I feel like I am capable of answering my question on whether or not listening to music improve your ability to work out more intensely and increase your output. I have come to the conclusion support by my research that yes music can in fact improve your ability to exercise and an aid to athletes as well to increase performance. , most studies found music to increase performance. Also, I have personal experience to support this claim with working out with music and found it beneficial.

I have come to improve your ability to exercise he conclusion supported by my research that yes, music can in fact improve your ability to exercise and an aid to athletes as well to increase performance My overall perception hasn’t changed because the research I have done Music is a great tool for exercise so use it! Work Citied Beckett, A. (1990). The effects of music on exercise as determined by physiological recovery heart rates and distance. Journal of Music Therapy, 27, 126-136. Beisman, G. L. (1967). Effect of rhythmic accompaniment upon learning of fundamental motor skills.

Research Quarterly, 38, 172-176. Boutcher, S. H. , & Trenske, M. (1990). The effects of sensory deprivation and music on perceived exertion and affect during exercise. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 12, 167-176 Copeland, B. L. , & Franks, B. D. (1991). Effects of types and intensities of background music on treadmill endurance. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 31, 100-103. Gfeller, K. (1988). Musical components and styles preferred by young adults for aerobic fitness activities. Journal of Music Therapy, 25, 28-43. Karageorghis, C. I. , & Deeth, I. P. (2002). Effects of motivational and oudeterous asynchronous music on perceptions of flow [Abstract].

Journal of Sports Sciences, 20, 66–67. Karageorghis, C. I. , Priest, D. L. , Terry, P. C. , Chatzisarantis, N. L. D. , & Lane, A. M. (2006). Redesign and initial validation of an instrument to assess the motivational qualities of music in exercise: The Brunel Music Rating Inventory–2. Journal of Sports Sciences, 24, 899–909. Ph. D, Len Kratiz. “Music and Exercise. ” UNMedu. University of New Mexico, n. d. Web. . Run to the Beat: London’s Half-Marathon (n. d. ). Music: The Science behind Run to the Beat. Retrieved July 3, 2008, from http://www. runtothebeat. co. uk/music. html


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