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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.

Spread the Word, like or share this page, your friends will also love it and thanks for it.

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Posted on Sep 26, 2013

About the Author

Kim Nishida has been working in the fitness industry for more than two decades and is certified by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Schwinn Spinning, Reebok Cycle, Powerstrike Kickboxing, Keiser Cycling and is formerly the Group Exercise Director at UC Berkeley.

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