Home Music Pump up the volume, drop the pounds

Pump up the volume, drop the pounds

by The Concordian January 8, 2012

A new year has arrived and for some this means making a 2012 resolution and trying to stick with it for 365 days (you can do it, I believe in you!). If yours has anything to do with exercising, I have a special nugget of information to share that could boost the productivity of your workouts in 2012.
Janet McMordie, who is currently studying medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., released a study while she was completing her master’s in kinesiology at the University of Western Ontario about how music volume can help people get the most out of their workouts.
McMordie’s study, which was released in 2009, showed that by turning up the volume at the gym, you could be more efficient during a workout and push yourself harder.
McMordie’s study had women listen to their favourite workout songs at four different volumes, and the results were clear. When the music was loudest, they could do seven more leg presses than they could at the lowest level of sound.
The boost of energy felt when louder music is played has to do with the sympathetic nervous system. Although McMordie’s study didn’t involve human chemistry, she explained that this system is involved in the “fight or flight” response. Loud noises cause the brain to release the hormone epinephrine, which is commonly known as adrenaline.
“Studies have shown that loud music increases epinephrine levels in the body. It puts stress on the body similar to the ‘oh crap, a bear!’ response which increases your productivity during a workout,” said McMordie. “It’s a small adrenaline rush.”
She elaborated, noting that other studies have proven that music can distract gym-goers from the “stress” on their bodies, and give extra motivation, especially when a favourite song is heard.
Concordia undergraduate student Adrian Nero uses music for those two reasons exactly.
“If I’m running, walking, or doing some other type of cardio, I need music to distract me and make time pass quickly,” he said. “I like having music when I’m lifting weights, but it isn’t as important.”
Concordia’s Le Gym staff member Keena Lou believes music makes a big difference when exercising, but selecting the music that’s played at the gym isn’t easy. Neither is picking the volume.
“Different times of day bring different crowds,” said Lou. “In the morning we tend to have the music quieter, and just have the radio on. In the evening we turn up the volume and play upbeat music, hip hop or house.”
After reading this useful information, you may be tempted to hit the gym and blast your music at a deafening level so you can achieve a rock hard body. However, it’s important to be aware of hearing damage. Everyone likes to rock out, but McMordie says that playing music louder than 85 decibels can cause noise-induced hearing loss.
“A normal conversation is 60 decibels. Most iPods can reach up to about 100-115 decibels at maximum volume,” she said. “The loudest level my participants listened to was 80 per cent of maximum volume on an iPod (80 decibels) for about 30 minutes at a time. Studies have shown that this level is safe for up to 90 minutes of consistent use and my study showed that it was the volume associated with the most benefit.”
To avoid hearing damage, McMordie suggests using over-the-ear headphones rather than earbuds, and listening to music louder for only the last kilometer or last set. This will help give you the boost you need to overcome that final obstacle.
So get off your couch, put down those chips, and go to either of Concordia’s fitness facilities, Le Centre at Loyola or Le Gym at Sir George William. You can exercise while jamming to your favourite tunes and have confidence that you’ll get the most out of your workout.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment