Are you one of those joggers who can't even think of stepping onto the road (or track) without your iPod? Well, science says there is a good reason. Here's why:
Music Can Trigger and Maintain Various Mental and Physical States
Music works like a high-speed remote control on your behavior. This is because it alters brainwaves as well as blood pressure. It may be capable, for example, of speeding up or slowing down your brainwaves as well as triggering the release of important neuro-chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline, into your bloodstream. As a result, songs can highly stimulate or relax you, depending on which way you want to go -- up or down -- and "optimize" your mindset for situationally specific events -- like athletics.
The nice thing is that with just a little science you can intensify these effects, make them last longer, and to eventually get your mind to produce them almost instantly, all on its own -- even without the music.
Here's how you can get started.
- Pick songs you like a lot. It really doesn't matter what kind of music you use. What's important is that you like it. If you like classical, try Mozart's "Sonata in D Major K448." This one is iconic.
To give you the idea, a song like Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" comes in at a moderate 124 BPM, whereas "Turn Me On" by Norah Jones runs a leisurely 56 BPM, and Knack's "My Sharona" thumps in at a brisk150 BPM. The Stray Cats' "Rock This Town" moves at a BPM of 207. You can find your songs' BPM with a Google or iTunes search
Playlist Bonus: If you want to really give yourself a lift, play a song with a slow BPM (90 or preferably even less) and then put on your faster rhythms.
You'll know when a song is too slow or fast because you will literally feel it working against you -- you'll have trouble synchronizing to the tempo or rhythm. Staying in a fast-paced rhythm and tempo for too long will dry up the faucet, so to speak, and the song will become dysfunctional, so you want to avoid that.
Here are some of my favorite jogging songs:
- I Can See Clearly Now -- Jimmy Cliff
- Let's Spend The Night Together -- The Rolling Stones
- Brown Eyed Girl -- Van Morrison
- Margaritaville -- Jimmy Buffett
- Rock Around The Clock -- Bill Haley & The Comets
- I Fought the Law -- Green Day (not available on Spotify)
- Karma Chameleon -- Sixpack (not available on Spotify)
- Mrs. Robinson -- The Lemonheads
- Rise Above -- Black Flag
- The Boys Of Summer -- The Ataris
- So You Want To Be A Rock 'N' Roll Star -- The Byrds
- Turn! Turn! Turn! -- The Byrds
So have fun and start turning your iPod into your ultimate mind-enhancer. Be flexible in setting up your playlists. Remember, to a large extent numbers are just numbers, suggestions and general markers to inspire you. So whatever works for you, go for it. Enjoy.
 Mindlin, Galina; Cardillo, Joseph; and DuRousseau, Donald. Your Playlist Can Change Your Life: 10 Proven Ways Your Favorite Music Can Revolutionize Your Health, Memory, Organization Alertness and More. Sourcebooks. Naperville, Illinois 2012.
For more by Joseph Cardillo, Ph.D., click here.
For more on fitness and exercise, click here.
Flickr photo by Tobyotter
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