Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Effects of Music On Athletic Performance

Ok, so this might sound ridiculous, but it has been scientifically proven that people who listen to specific types of music (i.e. music with a slow cadence vs. music with a faster cadence) perform better on average during any athletic endeavor.

A study conducted by Dr. Dainow in 1977 states that one's heart tends to moderately follow the beat of the music that is playing at a given moment. The research suggests that fitness enthusiasts may benefit by playing music, with a beat that correlates with one's desired heart rate before, during and even after a specific workout or competition.

Every time I watch the pre-game show for a professional basketball game I see Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, or some other big name all-star walk into the arena wearing some absurdly large headphones that are evidently blasting some music that "gets them in the zone." By the "zone" I mean one's ideal performance state. There are a multitude of extremely important factors that contribute to one's ability to achieve their IPS. I have mentioned a few of these factors in my previous posts, most importantly: sleep, nutrition, over/undertraining, attitude/mind set, and the newest performance enhancer (or diminisher given the respective circumstances) is the external auditory stimulus colloquially referred to as music. Music has the potential to allow an individual to tap into their IPS given the stimulus that the individual is searching for. For example lets say Jeff is about to do a one rep max deadlift in his garage, by himself. Jim is evidently going to have some issues getting "amped up," seeing as he is by himself, for a lift that he NEEDS a significant amount of adrenaline to successfully complete. Jeff needs to listen to some fast paced music that he enjoys listening to (pop, techno, rap, etc.). In an antithetical scenario Bill may be preparing to compete in the Crossfit Games for the first time. Bill is so nervous he can't sit still and he is on the verge of hyperventilating. Obviously, Bill needs to slow down his heart. Bill needs to listen to some slow paced music (i.e. classical or some really soft jazz or rock) that will induce a state analogous to meditation. During this pseudo meditative state Bill might want to visualize himself doing the workouts quickly, steadily and successfully.

So next time you throw on some tunes before jumping into a workout think about what your goals are, how your energy level is at the given moment, and what type of music will help you reach your own Ideal Performance State.

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