Music and movement: beneficial effects on the brain and physical activity

Music is present in all areas of our lives. Used as a method of relaxation, as an accompaniment to a joyful moment or in the background for a run or workout. Even before they are born, children in their mothers' wombs are extremely sensitive to external noise, and it is therefore natural for babies to respond better to musical rather than verbal stimuli.

Music stimulates memories, gives pleasure and excites so it involves and modifies the perception of moments. This seemingly simple process is instead the result of complex mechanisms inside our brain. The fact that listening to music and melodies activate areas in our brain that are used for movement is undeniable. Have music and movement always meant to be?

Music can give us pleasure just as food, sex and drugs release dopamine into the brain. The stimuli provoked depend on a subcortical brain circuit of the limbic system, formed by brain structures that manage physiological responses to emotional stimuli.

There is a research laboratory in Canada, Brain, Music and Sound that has studied the neuronal systems of musical perception, with an obvious result: the cerebral response is conditioned by its hearing in the past, because the brain contains data about all the melodies. Music, therefore, encourages people to move, induces positive moods, also increasing the excitement, the desire to be active and do movement.

Music will transform and improve your running

Many people who are new to running, and even seasoned professionals, find that running can be monotonous at times. A perfect solution in which to take some of the temporary boredom out of it is to incorporate music into workouts. Music can often be motivational depending of course on the genre. Thus many people are inclined to plug in the headphones whilst they run to heighten their motivation, enjoyment levels, and performance.

According to a study by Dr. Coastas Karageoghis, in his book Inside Sports Psychology, listening to music whilst you run can positively affect your performance by 15%. Not only is music good to listen to, in which to distract yourself from getting bored during a long, hard, intensive workout but it also helps to improve your mood. Therefore, if you are in a good state of mind when you are working out you will be less likely to cave into the voice within your head telling you to give up. Numerous studies suggest that the repetitive beat whilst you run synchronises brainwaves in ways that help you move to the music.

To increase their sporting performance, people have always been inclined to do whatever it takes, such as buying nutritional products, working out more frequently, getting lightweight shoes, and even clothing that doesn’t create wind drag. So having something that is cost effective and increases performance by relatively large margins is going to be a popular remedy for anyone from newbies to seasoned marathoners looking for a way to improve their times.

Thanks to modern technologies music can be listened everywhere and even treadmills themselves are allowing us to listen to music whilst we run. Go to the Appstore and you will find endless amounts of fitness apps that can help aid and track your performances whilst you work out, such as the free mywellness app or MYRUN APP.

Running Music

Running Music by Technogym not only allows you to run to optimised music, therefore cancelling the need to create motivational playlists on your smartphone or tablet, but it also matches the music to your running rhythm. MYRUN is the first ever interactive treadmill on the market. MYRUN treadmill also has a whole host of features that will help you grow as a runner to improve your running. It is the ideal treadmill for the whole spectrum of runners – from those starting out to those who run frequently.

  • Improving your run: MYRUN’s Running Rate can measure your performance and grows with your increasing speed accordingly. It can also improve your step frequency, stride length and displacement (making sure you run straight) therefore giving you the best running experience possible.
  • An adaptive running surface: MYRUN’s innovative Running Surface is adaptive to the way in which you run, therefore decreasing the risk of running-related injuries.
  • Enhanced technology: Not only are you able to run to the music, but you can train to custom plans as well as running to both the music and also your pulse rate, meaning that you stay on track to achieve your goals.

Un post condiviso da Technogym (@technogym) in data:

Benefits of Running

Long ago humans used to run to primarily hunt food. We would run and chase our prey (sometimes over extremely long distances) until it tired out. We would then take it back to our cave – either carrying or dragging it along – and eat it. Indeed, our bodies are built to cover extremely large distances – about 30km per day – although thankfully we no longer have to run just to survive!  Due to technological progress and busy lifestyles turning us into sedentary beings, we now walk less than 1km per day.
The good news is that, over time, running developed from a survival tool into a competitive pursuit. Although we don’t know the exact date when running as a sport began, running did feature heavily in the early Olympic Games: competitors would race in many different running events from a few hundred meters to several miles.
However, not everyone who runs need call themselves a “marathoner”. Plenty of people run to stay fit and active whilst maintaining busy lives. There are numerous benefits from running which include:

Makes you happier

According to various studies, researchers found that even walking (on a treadmill or outdoors) could significantly lift the mood of someone suffering from a major depressive order and even reduce depressive symptoms to a large degree.

Strengthens your bones

There are numerous studies that show running is actually good for the bones in your legs, contrary to advice people might give you. Whilst you can get running related injuries to your legs, on the whole running will actually do more good than harm to your legs. Read this article on how to keep running fit and avoid injuries.

Sharpens Mental Agility

Whilst running doesn’t cure age-related mental decline, it does help aid in preventing it. According to scientists reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they stated that running significantly enhances learning and memory.

Another benefit of running is that you can do it all year round. It isn’t just a sport that you can only do if the weather is good. Thanks to modern day technology and treadmills, such as MYRUN, you can run either in the comfort of your own home or at the gym. Meaning that you cannot use the excuse It’s too cold outside!

The stress-reducing effect of music

Normally, stress is described as a negative condition that can affect mental and physical wellbeing. However, not all stress is negative, yet a continuous activation of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) can contribute to stress-related illness such as coronary heart disease and immunosuppressive disorders.

Various strategies can be adopted to manage stress more effectively. Among these, the correlation between listening to music and reduced levels of stress has been examined in detail, resulting in scientifically supported benefits. In particular, music therapy is commonly used as a complementary treatment for a variety of diseases. An example of this would be the use of relaxing music, often with a low beats per minute (BPM). It is able to reduce stress, anxiety, heart rate and blood pressure in coronary heart disease and cancer patients. Moreover, listening to music before, during and after surgery has been suggested to reduce cortisol levels.

Why does music work to relieve stress?

Music influences the brains neural activity modifying the activity in the cortical and subcortical areas which are related to attention, memory and motor functions, such as limbic and paralimbic areas that are related to emotions. In addition, music enhances the ability of the two hemispheres to work in synergy.

But what is the correct type of music to listen to?
The rhythm of music influences behavior in different ways, for example, slow non-lyrical music with harmony and a lack of percussive instrument increases the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) with an increase of alpha brain wave frequency resulting in a relaxation response. With this considered it produces muscular relaxation, and a decrease of systolic blood pressure, oxygen saturation, heart rate and respiratory rate.

It is important however to select the appropriate type of music depending on the desired outcome. It is suggested that the body’s relaxation is facilitated by music between 60 and 80 beats per minute with the additional elements of melodies performed with specific instruments such as harps, the cello, and strings integrated with natural sound such as rainforest, birdcalls, and falling rain. Music is recommended to be implemented for a minimum duration of 20 minutes per day, even if the most effective duration, frequency, timing and type of music differentiates.

Why not join together music and exercise?
It could be an excellent solution when exercising at low intensity whilst listening a Mozart sonata, as you can do on Recline Personal.

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