Friday, April 15, 2016

The Secret Workout Weapon

Music is powerful. We intuitively know this, but now, thanks to functional MRI scans and new research on the way music affects the body, scientists have a better understanding of how tunes can make a big difference in your fitness achievements.

Motivation can be as simple as listening to a song that you've conditioned yourself to associate with energy and positivity. The goal: train your brain to know that when you hear a particular song you're going to work out. What you're doing is forging a connection between the song and your drive. This happens in the brain's limbic system, which helps regulate emotions, stores memories, and controls hormonal releases. Try cuing up to three energizing picks at the beginning of your workout to keep your motivation cranked.

Listening to song while you sweat can rev your heartbeat so much that it mimics the effect of a legal performance enhancing drug. Music can improve your endurance, strength and power while making you feel as if you're not working as hard. Music drowns out your stream of consciousness, which can be especially helpful during uncomfortable anaerobic exercise. Music decreases the production of lactic acid, which creates the burning sensation in your muscles, so listening to tunes lets you exercise at a higher intensity for longer.

The right playlist can help you form and maintain an exercise habit. Participants who listened to music worked out 20% more regularly than those who exercised without music. Plan out your playlist. If you typically hit a wall 20 minutes into your workout, save a high-octane song for that point. Consider tempo - your running playlist will be faster than your strength training playlist. Build an association between music and a great workout.

Exercise tears down muscles, recovery is when you rebuild them. The faster you get to a resting heart rate, the faster your muscles recover (you'll feel less sore in the 24 - 48 hours after). Parasympathetic activity rose in those who listened to calm music after a workout and they recovered 10 - 15% more quickly than those who did not. Cooling down helps flush lactic acid out of your system, regulate circulation and prevent blood from pooling in muscles. Use this time to foam roll and stretch to prepare you for your next successful session.

Music can boost your strength & endurance, amp your motivation & drive, and speed your recovery. Put together a powerful playlist this week.

Stay Active, Enjoy Your Food and 
Keep Moving

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