A London study conducted by Brunel University has found that listening to Marvin Gaye’s rendition of ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ while being active, resulted in stimulation in the region of the brain associated with easing fatigue.
Not only did the study reveal that participants felt less tired during the activity, but that the workouts felt shorter and more exciting.
This is not to say that the 11-minute song is the acoustic answer to everything physical fatigue related, just that it was the only piece of music used in the study, meaning the people partaking in the study had the opportunity to give unique and genuine results regardless of their musical taste or preferences.
Study author, Dr Marcelo Bigliassi, described why the brain responds to music in this way:
“Music is a very powerful auditory stimulus and can be used to assuage (ease) negative bodily sensations that usually arise during exercise-related situations.”
“As the music increases stimulus in this region of the brain, people feel less tired – which can increase the amount of time they are capable of exercising.”
Exercising to music is nothing new. However, Dr Bigliassi thinks the study findings could be especially helpful for people who are more likely to disengage from physical activity programmes after a short amount of time. For example, people who are overweight.
Krista Scott-Dixon, a researcher and nutrition coach, describes how starting an exercise routine for someone who is overweight is more difficult, and how music could be extremely valuable for that person:
“In the case of someone who is overweight, fat is a metabolically active organ. It’s not just storage, it actually secretes hormones that affect your energy levels. In short, even if you don’t really feel that much pain, you just feel like crap.”
“Exercise is a good stressor for the body – but for those who are severely overweight, their bodies are already stressed, their blood pressure is already raised, they are already fatigued, their joints already strained. In this state, any additional motivation sources are extremely beneficial.”
Music is not the proverbial Messiah to motivation for exercise. It can, however, potentially be an element of one’s regime that doesn’t require any additional effort to implement and produces great results.
Dr Bigliassi does offer a warning to those relying on music, not just for exercise, but as part of their everyday existence:
“People are almost developing a peculiar form of stimulus dependence to music. If we continue to promote the unnecessary use of auditory and visual stimulation, the next generation might be no longer able to tolerate fatigue-related symptoms and exercise in the absence of music.”
“It is important to promote these stimuli with due care and learn other ways to cope with fatigue associated with exercise.”
The team at Medicine in Motion Health Group are dedicated Allied Health Professionals who endeavour to promote exercise as medicine in the treatment of all our clients. We aim to educate our clients on the health benefits of exercise, motivate our clients to make good health choices and instil life-long changes in health behaviour.