New Study: Listening to Music Can Improve Exercise Performance

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The past 18 months have had a severe impact on the country’s mental health. A nine-month study by The Mental Health Foundation has discovered that the UK’s mental wellbeing is in a worse state now than it was at the start of the pandemic. This includes issues surrounding loneliness, suicidal thoughts and increased difficulties in dealing with stress.

Improving Mental Wellbeing

The NHS recommends physical exercise as an effective means to improve your mental wellbeing, suggesting daily activities enable you to set and achieve goals, improve your self-esteem and cause chemical changes in your brain that improve your mood. However, motivating ourselves to go out and exercise can be a huge challenge, especially when we’re already feeling mentally sluggish after 18 months of vegetating in front of Netflix documentaries.

A June 2021 Study

Luckily, there is a solution. The University of Edinburgh recently released the results of a study that suggests listening to music whilst running can improve your physical performance, even if you’re mentally tired. This is the first study to investigate the effects of listening to music on physical endurance tasks whilst being mentally fatigued, and its results show that tuning into music we enjoy can help our physical performance.

The participants took a 30-minute test before the running trials to put them in a state of mental fatigue, and they were then asked to complete various physical tasks both with and without music. The playlists were self-selected by the participants, but they were aided in this decision by researchers who guided them towards tracks with particularly motivational tempos and beats. Songs used in the trials included music by Avicii, Kanye West and Jay-Z.

The Results

It was discovered that participants who listened to music performed better in the endurance trials. This is a significant finding in the modern world where we’re often juggling several responsibilities at once, and finding the motivation to keep active after a busy day can be difficult. Dr Shaun Philips, from the University of Edinburgh’s Moray House School of Education and Sport, said:

 “The findings indicate that listening to self-selected motivational music may be a useful strategy to help active people improve their endurance running capacity and performance when mentally fatigued. This positive impact of self-selected music could help people to better maintain the quality and beneficial impact of their exercise sessions.”

How We Can Help

Listening to music could be an effective way to improve your mental and physical health as we emerge through the other side of this pandemic. LDC radio is available via an app to be accessed wherever you are, whenever you need it, so tune in live or download a previous show from SoundCloud and let us provide an upbeat soundtrack for your workouts!

Let us know what your favourite workout music is on our social channels:

Twitter: @LDCRadioLeeds

Instagram: ldcradio

Facebook: @LDCRadio

Written by: Melissa Watson

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