“They’re playing my song. Time to work out”
Kurutz, Steve,New York Times (2008)
By: Michelle Minke
Dec. 12, 2008
“They’re playing my song. Time to work out”, is an article in the New York Times, by Steven Kurutz. This article addresses the fact that music influences your mental state and performance ability for working out. Music is ultimately optimistic and energizing, the two things you need for a successful workout. Studies have proven that with the right music during exercise, it can act as a motivator, and lessen fatigue. Music with a higher B.P.M ( beat per minute) can more easily correspond with a persons heart beat during a routine workout.
Dr. Karageorghis created the Brunel Music Rating Inventory, a questionnaire that is used to rate the motivational qualities of music in the context of sport and exercise. This questionnaire represents different demographics of people who listen to 90 seconds of a song and rate its motivational qualities for various physical activities. The best songs according to Professor Gpeller, are the ones that have both a high B.P.M and a rhythm that you can easily coordinate your movements to. A stroll walker going at a pace of around 3 miles an hour, has a count of 115 to 118 B.P.M.; for a power walker going 4.5 m.p.h., the count is 137 to 139 B.P.M., while the B.P.M. for a runner elevates to 147 to 160.
Dance music tends to be the most efficient, and has the most consistent B.P.M, averaging between 120-140 beats per minute, where as jazz, hard core punk, or indie rock have changes in rhythm throughout and can have intensity changes altering the efficiency. Not only is music beneficial for cardio workout, but is also used as a motivator for strength training. The words and brashness of rock music or heavy metal are an inspiration to a fatiguing body builder.
The information in this article has always interested me. Not only does music actually inspire me to begin my workout but also encourages me to keep going. What is it about music that does this? I believe that it must be linked to our emotional response to music. The endorphins that music produces in our body only acts to strengthen our motivational responses when listening to an upbeat and fun song. I believe there is also an element of distraction that occurs when listening to music; distraction from boredom, physical fatigue and even the monotony of working out. Steven Kurutz is aware that his studies contradict Oliver Sack’s theory, that listening to music is just as effective when imagining it and that there is no neurological difference. But I do know that when I am on the treadmill around the 27th minute there is no way imagining an upbeat song is going to make it feel easier, or motivate me to continue. I also found it interesting in this article when it brought up the rule that bars runners from using portable music players and headsets. If music really made no difference in someone’s performance than what could be the possible harm in letting a runner use their personal inspirational music? All I know is that for me, there is a reason that I stick to the classics of earth, wind and fire, and other hits of the disco era in order for me to keep a regular work out schedule.