Are You Selecting The Right Music?

Most gym goers pick their favourite tracks to work out to, but beware – the wrong tracks can totally ruin your workout! Music can motivate you to push yourself harder, but it’s important that the music you select is specific to the type of workout you are doing.

If you are trying your hand at yoga or similar activities, it’s best if the music does not have a heavy beat or even lyrics. The aim of this type of workout is to relax, allow your body to become more supple, develop core strength and relax the mind. Chill-out style tracks are ideal if you want to create your own play list. Look for a slow cadence or beats per minute (BPM), and one with no vocals. Picking the opposite will increase your heart rate, create muscular tension and ruin your session.

If you are taking up running, then chill-out tracks definitely aren’t ideal. Observational and scientific studies have shown the optimal cadence to maximise elastic recoil and minimise muscular effort is around 170-185 BPM, regardless of the speed. It therefore makes sense to pick tracks that fall within this cadence or BPM range. Some CDs will display this information on them, so look for one of these to get you started. The music should get you fired up and motivated, helping to increase your heart rate and release energy stores ready for your session. Research has also shown that running to a beat can help reduce perception of exhaustion and boost your physical output.

If you have always fancied swimming but don’t like the idea of being alone with only your thoughts for an hour, don’t despair! There are lots of waterproof music systems available. Again, pick something that will motivate you, but bear in mind that something too quick may encourage you to kick too fast, increasing your heart rate and breathing rate, so that you tire more quickly. Forty strokes per minute is generally considered a slow stroke rate, whereas eighty is relatively high, so pick something with a BPM that matches to get the most from your workout.

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