Sunday, January 17, 2021

Listening to music improves motivation for exercising

Imagine Zumba class with no music or running on a treadmill listening to only the sound of your feet stomping on the buzzing, running mat. For some, Zumba is difficult without some motivation from their favorite artists, like Bon Jovi or Beyoncé.

Sure, some people don’t need a scientist to tell them music makes exercise more enjoyable, but what is the actual effect?

Studies have shown that listening to music while exercising can increase athletic performance. The reason being that when incorporating running and dancing in a playlist, it can be more fun than listening to heavy breathing.

According to an article on fitness site, the perception of effort is significantly reduced by music. Our endurance increases by as much as 15 percent because we naturally follow a tempo.

Group Exercise Director at Plattsburgh State’s Fitness Center Connie Fesette is in charge of all the classes offered to students at the Fitness Center. Fesette said there are exercise-specific CDs that state each track’s beat-per-minute. Beats-per-minute is similar to the tempo of the song and whether or not the work-out is supposed to be intense or not.

“Pilates will have about 95 beat-per minute. But if I’m doing my boot-camp class, I might use something that has 148 beats-per-minute,” Fesette said, “I think tempo very much effects how a person is going to perform. The higher the tempo, it gives you a high-intensity work-out and gets you revved up.”

PSUC communication disorders and sciences student Ariel Monserrate is a supervisor, personal trainer, and Zumba instructor at the Fitness Center. She said when choosing songs for Zumba class, she looks for songs that the audience can connect to. The more popular the song the more into it they may be. Their familiarity with the lyrics helps them pick up the moves faster.

However, Monserrate said the music needs to accommodate the different groups of people.

“I definitely have a lot of older women when I teach classes at home. I change my playlist a lot according to who I know will be coming to my class.”

To keep herself motivated while working out, Monserrate pictures her life as a movie.

“If I had a tough day and want to have a successful work out, whatever I’m listening to will set the tone and get me going. I want to run to something that makes me feel like ‘this is the soundtrack to my life.’”

All classes at the Fitness Center use music — even Yoga. Although yoga and yogalates (yoga and pilates) have very few beats-per-minute, Fesette said music can either make or break a class.

Psychology major Angela Lewis, who frequently attends Zumba classes, said, music helps her set goals.

“I won’t stop until the song is over and it’s helpful to exercise to a fun beat.”

Monserrate and Fesette found hip-hop and club music to be the most popular genre to work out to among the younger generation. They both had the most success in their classes using those genres.

“Hip-hop is my favorite to exercise to, especially T-Pain songs,” Lewis said.

While she gets amped listening to “Up Down,” Monserrate’s jam is “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit.

To get the most of your work out Monserrate gives one advise.

“Bring something that will make you feel like you are in your element. You’ll definitely get the most success out of what you’re doing.”

Email Jessica Miles at

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