Time to tackle that daily physical activity; our gym or home workout, the mountain of dishes on the counter or the long over-do dusting on our to-do list. It's a rather grey day outside and you aren't feeling the motivation...
Then you hit play!
The fun, upbeat music you've chosen fills the room and all of a sudden as grey as the day is you are motivated to get to your task. With time for dance breaks of course! #danceparty
Is this boost in mood coincidence or does the music motivate us to move?
There have been many studies done, some of which we will get to in a moment, to answer that exact question. The good news - findings show in favor of music improving the length and enjoyment of our workouts! A lot of the research centers around the idea that the music we listen to distracts our mind so we can go further, push harder, and enjoy the time more.
Check out the studies below to learn why that might be the case.
In this review of the available research, Karageorghis & Priest found that found that listening to music can boost your athletic performance, either by increasing the distance you run, the pace at which you travel, or how many reps you complete of an activity.
"The effects of music appear to be at their most potent when it is used to accompany self-paced exercise or in externally valid conditions." (Study 1)
What does this mean? We should pick activities that we control the pace; things like Walking/running, dancing, weight-lifting, cycling.
Next time your listening to your favorite song, close your eyes and really listen; does it feel like you can almost feel the beat? Our body has a way of synchronizing itself to the beat. So when a song has more of a fast-paced and energetic rhythm, the more likely your pace will be fast-paced and energetic, as well.
Music stimulates the part of the brain that controls movement, so it helps your body complete repetitive movements more efficiently. This synchronization can increase your heart rate, metabolism, and energy efficiency, while also reducing blood pressure and physical and mental stress. That also means you are less likely to feel tired!
Studies generally agree that the ideal tempo to achieve maximum results is 120 to 140 bpm. For activities that are slower, music that is more low-tempo will work best. That's why you generally do not hear heavy metal at yoga retreats!
So with all that information in mind; here are some music genres from around the world to pump up your workout play list:
Afro-Beats is also known as Afro-pop, Afro-fusion, and has become an umbrella term to describe popular music from West Africa and the diaspora that initially developed in Nigeria, Ghana, and the UK in the 2000s and 2010s. Afrobeats is used as a catch-all descriptor for the fusion of sounds flowing out of Ghana and Nigeria. Genres such as hiplife, jùjú music, highlife and naija beats, among others, were amalgamated under the 'Afrobeats' umbrella.
My Song Recommendation: Laye by Kiss Daniel
Cumbia, (Also check out Electro-Cumbia,) refers to a number of musical rhythms and folk dance traditions of Latin America, generally involving musical and cultural elements from Amerindians, Africans enslaved during colonial times, and Europeans. By listening and learning this style of music we can also learn about the past, and give space to people to tell share their experiences.
Salsa is an amalgamation of Cuban dances, such as mambo, Pachanga, and rumba as well as American dances, such as swing and tap. Salsa is an especially great addition to your workout playlist because Salsa's tempo ranges from about 150 bpm - 250 bpm, but even the dancers pace themselves, with most dancing being done to music somewhere between 160 - 220 bpm.