Amazing Power of Music Revealed
From the page: “… More about music and workouts
For all you gym rats, here is exactly what listening to music does for your workout, Karageorghis said. First, it reduces your perception of how hard you are working by about 10 percent during low-to-moderate intensity activity. (During high intensity activity, music doesn’t work as well because your brain starts screaming at you to pay attention to physiological stress signals).
Secondly, music can have a profound influence on mood, potentially elevating the positive aspects of mood, such as vigor, excitement and happiness, and reducing depression, tension, fatigue, anger and confusion.
Thirdly, music can be used to set your pace — Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie reportedly has asked for the techno song “Scatman” to be played when he competes (he won the gold medal in the 10,000 meters at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000; “Scatman” presumably went unplayed during the race).
Finally, music can be used to overcome fatigue and control one’s emotions around competition. The hurdler Edwin Moses, who competed for the United States in the 70s and 80s and had a 122-race winning streak between 1987 and 1997, used laid-back soul tunes as part of his pre-race routine, Karageorghis said.
The “Run to the Beat” music was played as runners at the Oct. 5 half-marathon event passed by 17 stations, not throughout the 13.1-mile course, because Karageorghis’ research shows that music is most effective when we are losing steam, not as a constant stimulus. For the rest of us at the gym or on our a.m. jogs, he recommends two workouts with music to every one without, so the effect is not dulled.
Sports-music fusion festivals
Karageorghis and his post-doctoral researcher collected data during the “Run to the Beat” half-marathon, allowing them to test theories on thousands of live runners outside the lab.
Despite driving winds and heavy rain during the event, post-race interviews suggested that the runners found the music inspiring and fun.
In the future, Karageorghis envisions cultural festivals that involve a fusion of sports and music, where the crowd and the athletes are motivated by music playing at stations along a competitive route, while motivating one another.
“It is beyond the music,” he said. “The music creates an esprit de corps, a cohesion you don’t normally have in a mass participation event. One of the key causes of motivation is this notion of satisfaction of a psychological need for relatedness. Having music creates a common bond, a social gel, that allows you to almost satisfy this need automatically.””