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Does music increase exercise performance?

When you’re working out, it is common practice to put in headphones, listen to music, and ignore everything else going on around you. We don’t think about it much now, but when did this start? Who said that listening to music could make exercising more fun?

Studies date back to 1911

when Leonard Ayres discovered that a group of cyclists pedaled faster when a band was playing, rather than when they were not playing. Since then, more studies have been conducted as to whether or not this was true, and turns out it is! Music can distract people from the pain and fatigue they are experiencing when they workout, all while boosting a person’s mood, increasing endurance, reducing perceived effort, and promoting metabolic efficiency.

Music encourages people to keep exercising and acts as a distraction, despite any exhaustion they are feeling. This is due to the music competing with the brain for attention of these thoughts.

When studied, it was shown that the most important qualities in the music a person was listening to during exercise were the tempo (speed of the music) and the person’s response to the music, or how it makes them feel. The most popular types of music among college students when surveyed were Hip-hop, Rock and Pop music. These types of music have the desired tempos of 145 beats per minute or more, which is where motivation peaks.

Can exercise prevent or reverse heart disease?

What can you do to prevent or reverse heart disease? Studies indicate that pairing a healthy diet with regular exercise is the best way not only to prevent heart disease, but to reverse some risk factors.

Is it necessary to pound the miles at the gym every day, or will a simple 30-minute walk do the trick? It’s always best to check with your doctor, but most research shows that any type of exercise that you enjoy and will perform on a regular basis is best.

How much is enough?

According to the American Heart Association, exercising 30 minutes a day five days a week will improve your heart health and help reduce your risk of heart disease. They define “physical activity” as anything that makes you move your body and burn calories. This includes: climbing stairs, playing sports, walking, jogging, swimming, biking, and more.

No matter what you do, all studies indicate that some exercise is better than none. People who engaged in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity leisure activity per week had a 14 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease than those who reported no exercise. The more you exercise, the lower your risk. The Mayo Clinic suggests that you can even benefit from 10-minute intervals several times a day.

Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. They can help you find activities that will increase your heart health without the risk of injury.

Why it’s never too late to start exercising

A new study finds that even if you’ve never worked out before, you still have the same ability as a world-class athlete to build muscle. But experts caution that a gym novice may want to start off slowly to avoid injury. Additionally, even small amounts of exercise can make a big difference to your health.

Later in life fitness

A team at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom compared the ability of men to build muscle mass. They looked at two groups: People older than 60 who exercised at least twice a week for at least 20 years, and those who didn’t have a consistent workout routine.

Participants had a muscle biopsy 48 hours before consuming an isotope tracer drink and conducting a weight training session, then another biopsy after finishing. The drink enabled the researchers to see how proteins were developing within the muscle.

Both groups had equal abilities to build muscle in response to exercise.

“Our study clearly shows that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t been a regular exerciser throughout your life: You can still derive benefit from exercise whenever you start,” said lead researcher Leigh Breen, PhD, a lecturer at the university.

“Obviously a long-term commitment to good health and exercise is the best approach to achieve whole-body health, but even starting later on in life will help delay age-related frailty and muscle weakness,” he said.

Regardless of age, progressive overload is essential to avoid plateau. That means you have to apply adequate stimulus (or exercise stress) and variation consistently to continuously build — and not just maintain — muscle.