Are you bored of running to nowhere on the treadmill or seeing the same sights on your running route? Hit a plateau at the gym and just can't seem to increase your intensity without having a trainer whip you? I've been there too and I'm delighted to share a solution with you that has been scientifically proven. It's really just common sense!
The answer to your exercise slump is simple, listen to music that puts a spring in your step. Now I realize from personal observation that most of you already have your ipod strapped onto your arm, because I check you out when I run... but there's still a significant percentage who do not.
Case in point: I have been a runner for most of my life and I love it. I remember the first time I strapped a clunky CD walkman (remember those!?!?) to my waist and head out on the trails. I ran 25 minutes longer, did the hills with ease and had the best workout of my life!!!
What are the benefits of adding music to your workout?
Lowers the perception of effort, meaning, you work out harder without even realizing it!
Enhances your endurance by up to 15%, particularly when the music is sync'd with your workout ie. running to the beat of drums.
Dulls or masks some of the pain associated with physical activity. Caution: This doesn't mean you go and pump 50% more weight then you normally would.
So why does music make you work harder?
A study from Brunel University shows that when the brain of athletes were scanned while listening to upbeat music, there was an actual increase in activity in the core area of the brain known as the ascending reticula activating system. Translation? Music enhances the arousal of the person and psyches them up for the workout.
Most people don't exercise because they simply don't enjoy it - sound familiar? This study showed that music increases the mood and work enhancing areas of your brain, so why not give it a try? Create a playlist of your favourite tunes, strap on your ipod and hit the gym, go for a power walk, a light jog but please... don't ride your bike while listening to music!
Now just for fun, I'm going to share a few songs on my running playlist. I like upbeat music when I run and clearly it enhances my mood cause I can run longer and harder with these tunes!
Warm up: Just Breathe (This youtube vid is sooooo freakin' funny. I'm going to be laughing at the thought of this goofy guy next time I hear this song) or Hide & Seek (Tiesto Remix of a classic Imogen Heap song)
When I need an extra jolt of energy: Such Great Heights Remix or Valley of the Shadow (Super ancient track and sounds morbid, but it makes me run really fast, especially in a race), or I resort to Lady Gaga or Madonna
Ps. Exercise makes you smarter and happier.