Music can play an important part in the writing process. Some writers, myself included, find music helps fill the silence during a drafting process. Some writers create huge playlists to accompany their stories, evoking various moods for specific scenes and characters. Other writers struggle to write unless they’re listening to a particular type of music, be it classical, jazz, Gregorian chants, or dubstep. Music gets the brain going, rejiggers our emotions, and catapults the imagination into heights hitherto unknown.
Yup. Music can be a huge way to boost your workouts too. It can also be a huge downer if the wrong type of music is playing. At one of the gyms I went to regularly for a while, the owner piped in his taste in music over various loudspeakers throughout the facility. At the time, I didn’t have a set of noise-canceling headphones or iPod or anything to bring with me, so I had to listen to the provided soundtrack. Most of it was either oldies, slow (very slow) rock, the occasional jazz, and a few tracks that belonged in lounge pornos. Most vocals were the whiny, screechy male sort who make you think of cats rutting in back alley.
It. Was. Awful. Some of the most least motivating music you could conjure. The few times an actually upbeat, energetic song would sneak into the mix, I could sense an immediate change in my workout. When I switched to a gym that gravitated to modern pop, rock, and R&B, it was an enormous relief. I didn’t have to brace myself just to enter the workout area, expectant of having my soul sucked out through my eardrums.
Music with a good tempo can aid in timing your running pace. It can transform what might feel like a chore into an engaging activity—“cheese sauce on top of broccoli” as I’ve heard it called. There’s even research that shows tracks that have 120 to 140 beats per minute are optimal for boosting endurance (the closer it matches the person’s heartbeat, the better). It can turn off the little voice in the back of your head complaining about how tired you are or how much you’d like to quit early.
This is why you see people at the gym with huge headphones clamped to their skulls. This is why you see runners jouncing along, a smartphone strapped to their arm and earbuds secured. This is why whole marathons are now designed to have live bands stationed at regular intervals along the course.
If you haven’t given much thought to the fitness-boosting effects of music, consider this a chance to think it over for even just a minute or two. Is your playlist full of downtempo tracks that actually bog you down? Should you swap out your current playlist for something a bit bouncier?
What kind of music do you like to listen to during your workouts? Do you have a particular artist, style, or playlist you go to when you want to get the blood pumping?