(WomensFitnessFocus.com) If you’re looking to get the most out of your workouts, no matter what it is that you’re getting set to do — cardio, weightlifting or an intense crossfit session — you might first think about getting your groove on.
In fact, according to various studies, if the music that you listen to fits the rhythm and mood of the physical activity you’re performing, you tend to work out a little harder.
“The metronome aspect, the synchronization of movement to music, is the most important,” Carl Foster, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin at Lacrosse, told The Washington Post.
He went on to say that the notion of synchronizing movement to some sort of beat is not a new concept; in Roman times, rowers aboard galleys moved in concert with the beat of a drum.
Finding what’s right for you
“But there is also the distraction and arousal that music brings,” Foster said, noting that both matter, it’s just not clear to what extent. “There’s definitely more buried in music that affects us. But we don’t know exactly how to tease it out.”
How do you know what the “right” music is for you?
As reported by the Post:
If you want to make a workout mix based on tempo — or BPM, for beats per minute — various Web sites, including www.songbpm.com, can help you determine the tempo of your favorite music to see whether it fits your intended activity. Or you can go to sites such as www.motiontraxx.com that offer playlists at a certain BPM for running and cycling as well as other activities. Other sites include www.workoutmusic.com and www.powermusic.com.
“Music is positive energy,” Deekron “the Fitness DJ” Krikorian, who produces fitness playlists for MotionTraxx, told the paper. “So when I put together playlists, I look for intensity, positive feeling and cohesiveness.”
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He says that if he finds a song that feels good in terms of mood and intensity — but it just has the wrong tempo — he may edit it somewhat in order to change the beats per minute to fit the type of exercise.
“The beat becomes very important anytime there is repetitive movement,” Krikorian said. “Our instincts tell us to move to the beat. Our feet tell us to move to the beat.”
As far as what the ideal cadence is for running, that’s a hotly debated topic in the world of running. That’s because we’re not all built alike and we don’t run at the same tempo or stride. That means that finding what’s right for you could take a bit of trial and error.
Some experts say an eight-minute mile generally corresponds with 170 BPM; others say that figure is closer to 200 BPM. Still, others say the ideal running pace is somewhere between 170 and 180. And there are a few studies that indicate that a faster BPM may be better in terms of preventing injury.
Faster is better in some cases
Then again, you could just try some sort of group fitness class instead, such as step aerobics, cardio-kickboxing or cycling. Instructors have been conducting those kinds of classes to musical beats for years.
Ingrid Nelson, a cycling instructor who packs her tempo-driven classes at Washington, D.C.’s Biker Barre, told the Post that intensity, style and cadence are all important when putting together her playlists.
“I like a lot of ’90s hip-hop and usually stay in the range of 95 to 105 BPM,” she said. But she added that she could go as low as 80 BPM or even as high as 120 BPM if she is prescribing hill-climbing or sprints.
Harold Sanco, a group fitness director and instructor at Results gym in the nation’s capital, said that, for some fitness activities like step aerobics, the tempo usually rises to about 130 BPM.
“You have to pick music that is both safe and effective. If you are going too fast, you risk injury and you’re not working out effectively because you are not getting the full range of motion,” he said.
Reporting by J.D. Heyes, NaturalNews.com.
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