Music and Exercise

The Magical Feel Good Elixir or a healthy PED

Mankind has always been fascinated by music. From the first Neanderthal beating a drum (or another caveman’s head) to soldiers keeping time marching into battle or as a way to celebrate a blessed event, music is ingrained in our culture.

We have all been moved by music, emotional highs and lows or even just toe tapping because of a song playing on the radio. Science has proven there are emotional, psychological and physiological changes that occur when we listen to music. Music stimulates the central nervous system thus releasing dopamine and endorphin; chemical neurotransmitters that are like a natural narcotic. These chemicals have a profound effect on the body and are responsible for a heightened sense of euphoria, increased blood flow, enhanced immune system, pain relief, stress reduction, and decreased cortisol levels. Sounds too good to be true, wait it gets even better.

Many of the side effects or changes attributed to music can also be linked to….wait for it….you guessed it: exercise. That is why music and exercise is a match made in heaven.

Combining music and exercise increases the body’s arousal to move, helps you keep time or a rhythm, decreases discomfort, improves motor coordination, reduces stress, postpones the aging process and in instances like a “runners high” can help you kick it up notch into a higher gear. Imagine that music a performance enhancing drug.

Working out to music is not some ingenious new concept. However, not all music is created equal and here are a couple of tricks to ensure you’re getting the most benefit from working out with music. Picking songs you like, ones that will trigger greater production of dopamine and endorphin release, can also be a useful tool in staying focused on the task at hand (working out) and eliminating distractions. Use the shuffle feature on your music player that teases your brain keeping it guessing and ensures those endorphin and dopamine triggers keep pumping.

Here is a list of some of our instructors’ favorite workout songs. What are your favorites? Share with us what songs motivate you!

1. American Idiot, Green Day
2. Bad Reputation, Joan Jett
3. Boom, POD
4. Bodies, Drowning Pool
5. Breaking The Law, Judas Priest
6. I Know You Want Me, Pitbull
7. In Da Club, 50 Cent
8. Jump Around, House of Pain
9. Mama Said Knock You Out, LL Cool J
10. Bulls on Parade, Rage Against The Machine
11. Crazy in Love, Jay Z and Beyonce
12. Crazy Train, Ozzy
13. Down with the Sickness, Disturbed
14. Free Your Mind, En Vogue
15. Please Don’t Stop The Music, Rihanna
16. Pretender, Foo Fighters
17. Sabatoge, Beastie Boys
18. Walk, Pantera
19. Whiplash, Metallica
20. Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana

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