Music illuminates life. Boring things like cleaning the kitchen seem to be more fun and the endless miles on the treadmill are suddenly easier and maybe even passing by faster. A lot of exercisers and athlets use music before, durig and after training or competitions. Some might use it for getting into the right mood or just to free their mind. But does music have any influence on the sport performance?
Indeed it does. It has an psychological, psychophysical, psychophysiological and ergogenic effect.
Asynchronous music - background music that doesn't match the activities rhythm or pace - is most explored typ of music. It can enhance work output and motivation when the tempo is switching from slow to fast. Heart rate, systolic blood pressure, RPE and blood lactate could be reduced significant. The perfomance enhancing effect is both in low and high intensity exercises significant. But there should be more studies in high intensity exercises.
Synchronous music - music that is matching the activities rhythm and pace - can also enhance the performance. Use of oxygen can be reduced and treadmill endurance can increase when using music. Excerises with a repetitive pattern (like running, cycling, rowing) are best suited for the use of synchronous music. It is possible to use music before training or the competition for increasing self-confidence, arousal and reaction time. It also seems to be easier to get into a flow when listening to music pre-task.
For restitution music can be useful to. It lowers the stress level and anxiety so it is easier for the body to recuperate. It is however important to choose the right music.
Listening to music pre-task can optimalize your mental state. It can increase self-confidence, arousal, reaction time and the release of dopamine.
There are not so many studies on the use of music to enhance recovery after the workout or competition. But if looking to everyday life music is used for many recuperative purposes like in meditation. Even after an operation the right music might improve the healing process.
But what music is the right music? That varies from person to person and the kind of activity or purpose. Tempo, rhythm, motivational melody/lyrics, cultural background, assosiations with the songs, gender and age should be considered when choosing the music. One can find many playlists that match different paces or can be used for meditation.
Interested in reading more? Download the file below to read the essay about the influence of music on sport performance, which I wrote during my sports osteopathy studies (written in German).