The following information is in reference to Chapter 9, page 117 of The Power Of Sound.
“Music holds the key to working out successfully.” The results of this 2009 Brunel University (UK) study reveal that the cardiovascular benefits of training can be boosted by running in time to one’s favorite beats. Matching the beat of the music with the tempo of the exercise also regulates movement and reduces the oxygen required during running by up to 6 per cent.
Costas Karageorghis, the associate professor of sport psychology who led the 21-year study says, “When you exercise, you go into a state of arousal, at which point the human brain looks for stimuli in your external environment to match. Slow-tempo music of 80 to 110 beats per minute [such as the Beatles’ Let it Be, which is 80 bpm] would be counterproductive, because your brain wouldn’t be able to create a harmony with running fast and the slow beat.” The ideal workout tempo is 120 to 150 bpm. In creating a collection of workout music, Karageorghis recommends counting how many times your feet hit the ground during a one-minute run. Afterwards, select music with a rhythm that matches it or is a few beats per minute above that number. The researchers have ascertained that training to music lowers one’s perception of effort, essentially tricking the mind into feeling less fatigued during a workout. Karageorghis believes that there is a science to choosing an effective ex ercise soundtrack.56
“Feel the Burn, Don’t Hear It.” In 1998, legislation was filed in Massachusetts requiring health clubs to post warnings about the dangers of exposure to loud music and to provide earplugs if the volume exceeds 90 dB, which is about as loud as a lawn mower. A survey monitoring ninety health clubs nationwide found noise levels in 60 percent of these clubs to exceed 110 dB, or the equivalent of a chain saw. Thirty minutes of ongoing exposure is enough to risk lifelong hearing damage, says the author of the study, an audiologist.57
“Headphones and Working Out.” Fitness experts say you double your risk of permanent hearing loss when you work out with headphones. The reason for this is that aerobic activities—such as brisk walking and running—force the body to divert blood from the ears and direct it to the legs, arms, and heart. This abnormal blood flow makes the hair cells in the cochlea more vulnerable to loud music.58
.“Wired for a Workout.” Research conducted between 1991-94 indicates that listening to music while exercising enables people to work out longer before feeling exhausted. Men increased their time by 30 percent, women by 25 percent, before exhaustion set in. Most listened to rock ‘n’ roll. Researchers believe there is nothing magic about rock music; the important thing is to pick music that is enjoyable. The researchers did not discover new music-muscle connections but, rather, came to the conclusion that this effect is most likely due to the music’s ability to distract.51
“Rhythmic Golf Training.” Reported in The Washington Post in 1995, Waltzes, cha-chas, mambos, and other music are all part of an innovative program called Rhythmic Golf Training taught in Deerfield, Illinois. Created by a golf pro and a ballroom dancer/golf enthusiast, this program teaches students a pre-shot routine, set to rhythm, much like a dance step that enables them to move with the beat. It is based on the concept that music allows the mind to become focused and relaxed. The creators often have their students hit the ball with their eyes closed while listening to music. They believe that closing off one sense heightens others—instead of just seeing the rhythm of movement, you learn to hear and feel it, too.52
“Music Can Help Learn a Sport Faster.” By concentrating on a rhythm, sports specialists say, you accelerate the process of mastering a sport and help your body discover the best biomechanical way to move. Your body, when you listen to music, moves with greater efficiency and synchronization. This causes less muscle contraction. Consequently, your joints are more stable and the risk of injury decreases.53
“Music and Hormones.” A rehabilitation specialist in Eugene, Oregon, uses music to help people recovering from injuries. He says, “Musical rhythms tap into our more primitive brain centers and act to override some of the conscious centers that control pain and fatigue.”54
“Specific Tempos for Injury Recovery.” By using music at specific tempos—120 beats per minute—pacing for recovery-oriented exercise is facilitated. According to this 1991 study, specific tempos help exercisers maintain a workout rate that will produce a desired target heart rate.55