Need a little motivation to get moving? Music can work that magic and more. Give it a try!
You can’t help it—one of your favorite songs comes on the radio and your toe begins to tap. Or maybe you sway a little, then slip into a dance—when no one’s looking, of course. It’s only natural to move your body to music. And when you plug into the rhythms of music, you might just find it easier to exercise.
Some experts suspect that as your brain connects to crescendos or guitar riffs, it disconnects from its analytical side that tells you when your muscles are tired or sore. They’ve found that people tend to exercise longer and harder when listening to tunes. That could translate to a better workout and more calories burned if you’re rocking out. Whatever it takes to get your body moving on a regular basis is the key thing.
Another reason to tune in: Music is a good way to plan workouts. Instead of watching the clock like a high schooler on the last day of school, let songs help the time seem to fly by. Thirty minutes of exercise may sound dreary but when set to music, it’s just ten 3-minute songs.
The music can also be a way to gauge your effort and help you gradually step it up as you become more fit. For example, you might start a walking routine to songs with the same tempo as “Monday, Monday” by The Mamas and the Papas—which is a good tune for a 3 MPH pace. Then “All Shook Up” by Elvis will bump you up to a 3.5 MPH walk. Eventually, you may be walking to songs as fast as “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen. As the rhythm picks up, it might be easier to pick up your pace, too. Working out to music can even make higher intensity efforts feel like lower intensity. (Just remember to check with your doctor before changing your exercise routine in its length or intensity.)
If rock and roll isn’t your style, try hip-hop, disco, country, swing, or reggae—any music that provides a good, steady beat.