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Music as Motivation

Quarantining can sap the motivation to exercise and move. And now, more than ever, we need to remember to keep moving our bodies to stay healthy and sane. Even as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise can work wonders for our brains.

Music is one way to shake off the exercise apathy we may feel during this time. In fact, more and more research supports music’s positive impact on exercise and performance

Music’s Performance-Enhancing Benefits

If you need a little boost to your routine, music has been shown not only to enhance your performance but also increase your perceived enjoyment of exercise. “Given that exercise is often tiresome, boring and arduous, anything that relieves those negative feelings would be welcome,” said Costas Karageorghis, a professor in sport and exercise psychology, in The Scientific American

One study involved 24 participants walking 400 meters on an outdoor track at a pace of their choice. Some participants listened to the song Happy by Pharrell Williams, some listened to a podcast of a TED Talk, and some didn’t listen to anything.

The researchers found that those who listened to music increased their enjoyment of walking by 28 percent compared to those who listened to nothing and 13 percent higher than those who listened to the TED Talk.

How Music Effects Our Brain

Karageorghis is also the author of “Applying Music in Exercise and Sport.” He has found that music enhances our mood, improves muscle control, and helps the brain build key muscle memories.

When we listen to music it activates several areas of the brain critical to athletic performance all at once. And what’s more, music helps regulate stress by reducing cortisol levels, enhancing our mood, and increasing our confidence.

So the next time you’re not feeling ready to get out of bed or get off the couch, put on your favorite playlist and start moving. A little goes a long way, especially now.

For additional reading, check out our previous blog post, “Music as Medicine,” to learn more.

Dr. Sonja Stilp is the founder of RISE. She is a spine and sports medicine physician practicing in Boulder, CO. She provides personalized care and exercise playlist consults for the athlete in all of us. Sonja enjoys listening to music as she explores the World! Schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. Stilp at RISE.

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