Using Music to Drive You To Distraction

player-403“Using Music To Drive You To Distraction…”

How are you doing today?

And what are you listening to as you read this? Anything?

Maybe you’re hearing the sounds of other people in the room, distant conversations, cars in traffic (although, I hope you’re not reading this while driving), or kids playing. Or maybe you’re playing music or listening to the news or the television.

Can you notice how the sounds around you affect you?

Are they helping you concentrate on the task at hand or distracting you?

This brings me to my point for today’s tip…

Music can definitely work as a distraction and spirit away your focus from your workout.

And that can be a BAD thing and it can be a very GOOD thing.

Let me explain…

Remember how we touched on the power of music to stir up your emotions and that those emotions can motivate you to push harder, workout longer, or even make it feel easier?

Well in that last scenario, what’s probably happening is that in addition to evoking happy memories for you, music is serving as a distraction from the amount of effort you’re exerting.

Because you’re so into the tune, maybe even singing along, you’re not focusing on…

  • How much discomfort you’re in
  • How long you’ve been working out
  • How much you don’t particularly love exercising

The distraction can actually be what keeps you going!

Scientific American says, “Music distracts people from pain and fatigue, elevates mood, increases endurance, reduces perceived effort and may even promote metabolic efficiency.”

It really all depends on what motivates you and your relationship with physical discomfort and pain.

Seriously, you might be one of those people who are more motivated when you feel that burn. Professional athletes often interpret feelings of physical exhaustion as signs that they are heading in the right direction because they are always striving to be the best.

So can music help you push past that pain threshold? Here’s what Scientific American adds,

“The human body is constantly monitoring itself. After a certain period of exercise—the exact duration varies from person to person—physical fatigue begins to set in. The body recognizes signs of extreme exertion—rising levels of lactate in the muscles, a thrumming heart, increased sweat production—and decides it needs a break. Music competes with this physiological feedback for the brain’s conscious attention. “

In a nutshell, music can help override the brain’s message to the body to stop.

Expert Costas Karageorghis says, “Given that exercise is often tiresome, boring and arduous, anything that relieves those negative feelings would be welcome,” but cautions that while distraction from fatigue is only great as long as it does not put you in danger.

There are times when you need to focus and times when distraction is perfectly acceptable.

Find the balance in your workouts and you’ll never watch the clock again.

Posted on Sep 26, 2013

How Music Can Fuel Your Emotions

performance-403“How Music Can Fuel Your Emotions…”

In my last article, I shared why some experts call music “an illegal drug for athletes” and described how using music can help you boost performance while making it seem easier.

If you missed that article, just click here.

Today, I’m going to share one of the most important factors when it comes to selecting the right tunes.

As far as workout music is concerned, one song is not necessarily the same as another!

Scientific studies have shown that what helps increase endurance, enhances enjoyment, and improves performance is not the music alone…it’s the emotions that music can stir up in you that matter most.

Think about it…

Right now, name a song that you associate with a happy childhood memory.

I bet that, in addition to naming the song, you can also recall where you were, who you were with, and what you were doing. And I bet just listening to that song instantly stirs up some pretty strong feelings.

And it’s those feelings and emotions that can motivate you and fuel your workout.

Music from a certain era of your life such as high school or college, can be extremely motivating.

So don’t be afraid to dust off those “classic” tunes…

Also, when selecting your music, you don’t always have to go for the nostalgia.

Music that stirs up strong emotions due to the emotional state of the singer can make a huge impact on you as well.

In fact, music can open the mental floodgates to which you control your emotions and it’s those emotions that can fuel your motivation.

So think about what types of songs really move you. It’s different for everyone. You might enjoy pop music or you might be inspired by the driving messages of rap and hip-hop. Or maybe instrumental music like techno and electronica can be what really moves you.

Decide which emotions make you feel most motivated: anger, determination, happiness, sadness, excitement.

And then find the music that kicks those particular emotions into gear.

I personally like a mix of happy tunes like “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves and somewhat combative songs like “Lose Yourself” by Eminem.

If you are an instructor, although it’s important to play music that keeps you motivated, you also need to consider your audience even more when making your music selections.

What is the age group, gender, and disposition of your class members? Play the music that will motivate them if you want a packed class!

And if you’ve got a mixed audience, it’s best to mix up the tunes and provide a little something for everyone.

Make sense?

Posted on Sep 14, 2013

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