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Move to the Beat: Music Helps Exercise Feel Less Strenuous

First Posted: Oct 16, 2013 01:52 PM EDT

For many of us, working out with music can help alleviate some of the stress due to strenuous physical exertion. And it just so turns out, there's a scientific reason for released tension that comes with melodic tunes during intense workouts.

According to scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brian Sciences along with other researchers, while we already suspected that music makes working out seemingly more enjoyable and heck, even fun for some, health officials believe that music can actually reduce the effort involved during such physical activity. Researchers believe this provides new insight regarding the historical development of music and the importance for expansion of sound in a variety of therapies.

Up until now, many have previously assumed that being active with music could relieve severe stress from the body and therefore, stress would be less clearly perceived in instances to come. However, lead study author Tom Fritz was skeptical regarding this theory, noting the following, courtesy of a press release: "Does this effect of music actually result from the distraction of proprioceptive reactions?"

In order to clarify this question, scientists developed a series of tests in which three different fitness machines were used. The first test had three participants use fitness equipment at the same time while passively listening to music. The second involved research prepared via the machines so that once the participants began to use them, music would start. During their training, participants would make music interactively. During the training sessions, scientists measured their metabolic data and oxygen intake, as well as muscle tension. They also questioned the participants regarding the amount of exertion they were using.

Results showed that participants felt less strain when they were severely producing the music.

"This implies that the developed technology is more favourable as a new athletic sports technology, presumably because more emotionally driven motor control occurs with the musical ecstasy", said Fritz, via the release.

The trial actually showed that many of the participants perceived the exertions at a higher output to be due less to music.

"These findings are a breakthrough because they decisively help to understand the therapeutic power of music", explains Fritz, via the release. "What is more, we believe that this insight has an important consequence in how we view the role of music in the creation of human society. Let's consider the fact that a variety of rituals are associated with music. A down-modulating effect of musical activity on exertion could be a yet undiscovered reason for the development of music in humans: Making music makes physical exertion less exhausting".

What do you think?

More information regarding the study can be found via the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

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