Health and Wellness

Push Forward with Music

Posted on by ums

Has music ever changed your mood?  For you music lovers out there, I am sure you can agree that certain tunes can help get you through a rough day, motivate you and even keep you celebrating long into the night during the best of times.  Studies have shown that music can be a powerful part of our daily mindset.  Surely this is something you might have heard, and maybe even incorporate into your exercise routine, and here”s why:

“Distraction is one explanation.” 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. Similarly, music often changes people”s perception of their own effort throughout a workout: it seems easier to run those 10 miles or complete a few extra biceps curls when Beyoncé or Eminem is right there with you.” (Scientific American)

So let”s look at workout music from another angle.  You can listen to music as a reactionary action when emotions are running strong.  You have a rough day at school or the office and during your drive home maybe you put on some music that helps you make sense of those feelings.  Another approach you can take (the Unique Mindset approach) would to be a proactive music listener.  Set up playlists for different moods and activities on your smartphone so you have the right motivation no matter what gets thrown your way.  If you are planning to do a hardcore workout and you want to make sure you get the most out of that hard work – then make a custom playlist for that situation.  Scientific American even reports that in a recent Marine Corps Marathon the officials banned competitors from having any sort of mp3 players to ensure that no one has a competitive advantage.  Music isn”t going to make or break your performance, but your midset can.  Get the most out of your day and various activities by listening to the right music – custom to your mindset and goals.  According to Scientific American:

“Selecting the most effective workout music is not as simple as queuing up a series of fast, high-energy songs. One should also consider the memories, emotions and associations that different songs evoke. For some people, the extent to which they identify with the singer”s emotional state and viewpoint determines how motivated they feel. And, in some cases, the rhythms of the underlying melody may not be as important as the cadence of the lyrics.”

With this information in mind, I went through my personal music collection and made a series of playlists to keep myself motivated during intense workouts.  

Thanks for reading! – Jeff


Scientific American APA citation:

Jabr, F. (2013). Let”s Get Physical: The Psychology of Effective Workout Music. Scientific American. Retrieved from

Image Credit: Vjeran Lisjak