Unlike talking about politics and religion, there are two things that are definitely true. Yep, you can never prove me wrong when I say that music affects the brain and that the gym membership has risen in the last decade or so. You can blame the gym membership rising to the health revolution.
Just in the United States of America, it has been recorded that from 2015 to 2018, there has been an increase of almost 67.7 % in gym membership. And you know, since music affects our brain, music has been an integral part of gyms. But the question remains, what are the best types of music to play at the gym?
Why the Increase in Gym Memberships?
As I have stated earlier, the amount of people signing up for gym membership has been steadily rising through the years. There just seems to be this need to be fit. That is, of course, a very fantastic thing to aim for given the diseases that could be prevented by keeping our bodies fit and healthy.
But before, a few decades ago, people are content with suiting up, tying the laces of their running shoes and then jog through the park or the neighborhood. Now, that does not seem to be the case. People are going for the different types of workout! And trust me, there are tons of that.
It is not like the workout regimens are getting easier and lighter. Nope, I get scared with some of the things people do when they are working out. Just looking at the snippets of the training the Victoria’s Secret angels do is quite mind blowing.
I must admit that there are times when people go to the gym because they need it. I myself struggled with my weight in my teen years. I just stand about 150 cm but I weigh around 165 to 170 pounds. That may not be considered as obese but that is still a lot of weight to carry around.
So yes, there are people who go to the gym in order to get help in losing weight. But that is just one reason. There are also people who go to the gym to get the body they are aiming for. You know, the toned abs, toned booty, and toned things. Just look at social media networks! Pictures of stunning bodies are just about anywhere!
On one hand, there is nothing wrong with going to the gym to achieve a body like, let us say, Hugh Jackman when he is playing Wolverine. But on the other hand, you have to ask yourself the reason why you are going to the gym. That way, you will know just how to motivate yourself!
How Does Music Affect Our Brains?
We are tackling two things in order to know best types of music to play at the gym. We have the gym side of the equation and then there is the music side. We all know that music has an effect to our brains. I mean, I think I have seen enough advertisement about pregnancy and classical music to get to that conclusion!
But hey! We can never just accept every single thing that is shown in the media, right? After all, as the saying goes: believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see. So there is that, I guess. Well, we will just have to elaborate on that!
Music has played an integral part in our history and culture. Every country have their own type of music, especially when it comes to traditional songs. Of course, they all come in different languages- some even do not have words on them. One thing about any music, though, is how it affects us.
The effect of music can also be felt all over our body. It affects the way we think, out mood, and the way we move. Come on, admit it, you can never force your body to move fast while listening to Moonlight Sonata! No matter how out of beat you actually are!
In fact, the effect of music is very broad and reaches far. The advancements in neurological studies allow us to pin down the way music affects us. So let us list down a few ways with which music affects us.
- Music Has An Effect In Our Emotions
This is probably the most known thing that music has an effect to- our emotions. We have all been through the same things, like suddenly breaking down when we hear a certain song. It just is, you know? It has always been a given that music affects our emotion.
But the effect of music in our emotions is not just covered by the way we cry our hearts out while listening to an album by Adele. Music can, of course, uplift our moods. And it is not just the lyrics, either! Try listening to Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt- Morning Mood and prepare to enjoy the morning!
The effect of music in our emotions is actually exhibited even from the time we were born. The way a mother sings a lullaby to her child is actually one of the most significant bonding experiences between two beings. And the medium for this bonding? Music!
In fact, listening to music does not just affect our emotion purely in the ‘experience’ sense. Music affects our bodies as well. When you sing, your body releases oxytocin (which is sometimes referred to as the ‘cuddles hormone’).
Listening to music can also increase the amount of dopamine. If you are not familiar with it, it is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure center. People with low dopamine activity are found to be more prone to addictions and dopamine deficiency can result to Parkinson’s Disease.
- Music Can Affect Our Memory
Memory is a double edged sword. It can help us but sometimes it can also put us down. Either way, memory is an important part of our lives. Memory is used in our everyday dealings, may it be in school, in work or just in the errands we do.
I will take the chance and appeal to your sentimental side here, your memories make you, you. You are the sum of all of your memories, right? Wipe that out and you will be a shadow of yourself. On the practical side (just to lighten things up), if you do not have any memory of your lessons, there is a big chance that you will fail a test!
With the rise of our awareness about Alzheimer’s disease comes the ways to prevent it. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the said disease. All we can do is try to prevent it while we still can. Anyways, Alzheimer’s disease does not just rob its victims of his or her memories, it takes away a lot of other things as well.
But the memory is the one that is the concern of a lot of people. There is just something about watching our loved ones forgetting about us that is so heartbreaking. And that is where music comes in to play.
According to studies, our brain can connect certain music from our personal past to certain memories. Mostly, that is because we, ourselves, connect this certain song to an equivalent certain memory. In that way, music can improve our memories. It does not just help in cases when diseases are at play, it can also help you memorize things better.
- Music Can Help Improve Our Attention
There are songs that you just need to listen to. It grabs your attention, engage your whole being and you end up forgetting whatever is happening in your surroundings. In other words, you zone in to the music and you create this small space where the only things that exist are you and the music you are currently listening to.
I know that you have experienced that! As I have said earlier, advancements in neurological studies allow researches to measure the effect of music to our brains more clearly. In one study, researchers used the brain images of people who were listening to a certain symphony to relate attention and music.
In the study, it was found out that during the short periods of silence during the musical performance, the brain exhibited peak activity. Yes, it happened while nothing is happening, which must be hard to digest now. But of course, there is an explanation there.
The peak brain activity during the small breaks between musical movements meant that listening to music helps the brain hold greater attention and anticipate events. To put it simply, if you play your cards right and with the help of the right music, our brain can sustain and improve our attention.
What Music Should You Play While You Are At The Gym
As we have already established, music has an effect in a lot of aspects. With that, we can come to the conclusion that music can either make or break just about anything that you are doing. Listening to music while working out can either be beneficial or hindering depending on some variables.
To be fair the variables are not a to z (let us just leave that for Algebra). We only have to consider two main things: the type of workout you are doing and the type of music you are going to listen to while doing the said workout. To know the best type of music to play at the gym is not just important to the people who are working out but also to people who own gyms!
So without any further ado, let us break down the types of workout and the best type of music to play at the gym when you are doing each type of workout. We will give you both the general idea and a few suggestions. I am sure that you can start building up your playlist from there!
When You Are Doing Your Cardio Exercises
When you say ‘cardio’ exercises, it pertains to any type of exercise that raises you heart rate. As is a common knowledge (universally accepted, you have the right to slap those who doubt its validity), muscles need to be moved and trained in order to be strong and be kept in shape. While we are at it, heart is a muscle as well.
Then it goes without saying that in order for your heart to be strong and stay in shape, you will have to have it moving. I know, as long as you are alive, your heart is pumping blood and therefore moving. But that us not enough. Cardio training makes your heart beat at a rate that is at least 50 % of its maximum level. Stronger heart, stronger body!
While doing cardio training, the type of music that will affect you in a positive way will have to be the ones with powerful, quick and repetitive beats. Songs like that usually fall under genres like pop and heavy metal. Try listening to songs like Lose Yourself by Eminem and Push It by Salt-N-Pepa.
When You Are Doing Endurance Training
Endurance training tests your, well, endurance. Endurance refers to the ability to stay moving and exert yourself over a period of time. It is also your ability to withstand pain, fatigue or stress. The training improves cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular endurance.
Basically endurance training keeps your body up and running for a longer period of time. It also improves your health. Obviously, endurance training makes sure that you will have enough energy to keep moving, it also improves heart function and increases metabolism.
The right music that will go with endurance training will have to be songs that have 135 or more beats per minute. Fast tempo music usually falls under the techno, upbeat pop music or rock hard genre. Look for songs like Toxic by Britney Spears and Applause by Lady Gaga.
When You Are Getting Your Workout Through Swimming
Swimming is a great physical activity. It builds endurance and keeps your heart rate up like endurance training and cardio training. The good thing about swimming is that you are doing all that against the resistance of water.
Unfortunately a lot of gyms fail to play music in the swimming areas. That is quite a shame because the music can help you take your mind away from the distracting echoes and noises. Songs that have 90 beats per minute but below 130 are best to play while swimming. You can try listening to songs like Jump by Van Halen and Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga the next time that you are going for a swim.
When You Are Doing Strength Training
Strength training, as the name suggests, makes you stronger. Stronger body is equivalent to a lot of benefits. Of course, you can lift things easier, your body will definitely look better and it will also be healthier. It does not hurt to also gain more confidence by doing it.
When you do strength training, like weight lifting, listening to songs with repetitive rhythm can be beneficial. Look for songs that are around 115 to 135 beats per minute will be great. I recommend listening to songs like Iron Man by Black Sabbath and Eye of the Tiger by Survivor.
When You Are Balancing or Stretching
Stretching and balancing are both important in any exercise, training or sports you are going to undertake. They are different but they have the same principle. Both is an integral part of physical activities so never skip them!
Stretching helps keep you joints flexible. It prevents stiffness and reduces your chance of getting injured while doing other activities. Keep in mind that stretching should be relaxing and easy, not rigorous and straining. Balancing, on the other hand, helps you stay steady on your feet and thereby further reducing your chances of injury.
Stretching and balancing will be done nicely with the accompaniment of calm and soothing music (around 90 to 115 beats per minute). You can try looking at songs with genres like R&B, indie rock, alternative and soft rock. Songs like It’s Time by Imagine Dragons and Come Together by The Beatles are highly recommended.
No one can ever argue about the fact that music can affect the way you think and the way you move. So no wonder why when we work out, we also consider that music we will be listening to while doing so. So knowing the best types of music to play at the gym is quite important.
If you ever need advice on that front, there are online music streaming applications that offers public playlists that you can access. These playlists, aside from our suggestions, can be played or even downloaded. Remember, the song you will play can either make or break your work out sessions!
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