Every January 1st, people around the world make New Year's resolutions. 9 times out of 10, that resolution is to lose weight. Whether you are in tip top shape and want to trim down an extra pound or two, or you are 50 pounds overweight and want to create a whole new you, your goal to lose weight is the beginning of a journey toward better health. Unfortunately, the best way to lose weight is through exercise, and there are many people out there who do not find exercise to be fun. One way to jazz up your exercise program is to pop on your iPod and get motivated through the sounds of your favorite rock tunes, djembe beats or jazz classics. Even better, research has found that there is a connection between music and your brain's ability to exercise and lose weight. Music is there to motivate you, make exercise more pleasant, and can even assist in your weight loss.
Recent studies have shown that our bodies have what is called a 'Rhythm response' to music. As we exercise and listen to music that we like, our internal rhythm adjusts to the beat of the song. Because we adjust to it and match our movements to the beat, it motivates our bodies to persist and can actually increase our enjoyment. The rhythmic activity drives you to continue exercising by distracting you from that little voice that may say "Stop, I'm tired."
The rhythm response is tied to your hearts beats per minute (bpm) as well. In cycling, your exercise level is measured by the cadence of your spinning wheels. If you continue to spin at a high rate without a lot of rest, you are said to have a high cadence. The beat of the music can match and increase your cadence, thus pushing you to perform longer and harder than if you were not listening. When you hear a runner say that they were really 'in the groove' of the run, you can be sure that the music they were listening to helped them along.
Your body's rhythm response can create internal memories that can affect your eating patterns. If you listen to the same playlist around the house that you listen to when you are exercising, it can help distract you from activities you'd rather not engage in. For example, if you are making lunch and listening to a particularly motivating song, you might not be as tempted to pop food in your mouth as you are cooking. A song that really ramps you up and makes you want to get out and exercise might make you think twice about eating an entire chocolate bar.
Another reason that music can help you with weight loss? Music is always there for you. Unlike your jogging buddy who decides that 6 am is way too early to get up and move, your favorite songs are just an iPod and a set of headphones away. The thought of music may be enough to get you out of bed and moving each morning, which can contribute greatly to your weight loss.
There is a reason that people respond to music in the way that they do: Our bodies are programmed too. Starting out on an exercise program? Grab your iPod and get going on your way to a new and healthy you!