The study says the brain mechanisms behind these effects appear to be linked to a boost in beta frequencies in some regions of the cortex. Music with exercise can rearrange the brain’s electrical frequency, causing a drop in focus but boosting your happiness during a workout session, a study has found.
Previous research demonstrates that listening to tunes can be a game-changer for a workout. In 2012, a research likened music to a legal, performance-enhancing drug, cheating tiredness and sparking feel-good vibes. However, the exact brain mechanisms music triggers during exercise are less understood.
Researchers from Brunel University in the UK have utilized portable electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring with interference shielding technology to measure three types of brainwaves during exercise.
This gives them a chance to analyze the brain’s electrical feedback while exercising outdoors to music, a podcast, or no soundtrack at all. They found music rearranges the brain’s electrical frequency, causing a drop in focus but enhancing enjoyment 28 percent more than silence and 13 percent more than a podcast.
“The EEG technology facilitated measurement during an ecologically-valid outdoor task, so we could certainly examine the brain mechanisms that underlie the effects of music during real-life exercise situations,” said Marcelo Bigliassi, psychophysiologist at Brunel.
Setting their own pace, 24 people walked 400 meters on an outdoor track to either a six-minute song track, a podcast about cities, or no sounds at all. Scientists utilized psychological scales to measure how good the walkers felt, what they focussed their attention on, how pepped or alert they felt and how tired they felt.
All the while they utilized EEG measurements and analyzing software to plot their brainwaves across various band frequencies such as lower-alpha, upper-alpha, sensorimotor rhythm, and beta. Music distracted the walkers’ but, but boosted their energy levels and enjoyment more than the podcast and not listening to anything.
The podcast did not affect the walkers’ perceptual responses, such as how tired they felt, or their effective responses, such as how happy they felt. However, it made them enjoy walking more than without a soundtrack.
The study says the brain mechanisms behind these effects appear to be connected to a boost in beta frequencies in the frontal and frontal-focal regions of the cortex.
“We demonstrated that music can possibly increase beta waves and evoke a more positive emotional state,” said Bigliassi.
“This can be capitalized upon during other forms of exercise and render a given activity more pleasurable. People who struggle to engage in physical activity programmes should select appropriate pieces of music to work out,” he said.