Exercise music benefits discussed in new book

Exercise music is discussed by Dr KarageorghisA new book, Applying Music in Exercise and Sport, provides an in-depth look at exercise music and the way tracks can be used to enhance individual, team sports and various fitness routines.

For some people, listening to music while exercising is the norm. Others however can go without, citing it as a distraction to the job in hand.

I’d put myself in the latter group. Despite being a regular runner, using music as I pound the pavements has never truly appealed.

According to the book’s author, sports psychologist Costas Karageorghis, this likely makes me an ‘associator’.

Karageorghis states an associator to be the type of person who tends not to derive as much benefit from music. In contrast ‘dissociators’ are those who look for external distractions (such as listening to music) to break up a perceived hum-drum of running.

I find that music is an ideal way to achieve my desired mood state. Given how much of my sport depends on psychological readiness, this can make a telling difference.Dina Asher-Smith

Certainly, I can see the appeal of using music on longer runs. But truth be told I don’t like distractions and prefer to be in tune with my thoughts and how I’m feeling and performing.

While I’ve run on a treadmill with exercise music coming from the gym’s PA system, it’s never been to my selected tunes. But maybe I should, as Karageorghis notes there is actually more reason to use music in this kind of environment.

Applying Music in Exercise and Sport is an exceptionally detailed book, broken into three distinct sections. First up is a historical background of music in a sporting sense, such as its inextricable links with the Olympic Games.

Further discussions follow on how specific tracks can help during exercise and gym workouts, and how music can benefit both individual and team sports competitors.

The book features a foreword from British 100m and 200m record-holder Dina Asher-Smith who highlights the integral part music plays in her preparations.

She writes: “I find that music is an ideal way to achieve my desired mood state. Given how much of my sport depends on psychological readiness, this can make a telling difference.

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“My music can serve many purposes: at times as a companion, often as a means by which to wind down and relax, and at other times as a rhythmic cue to get my legs turning over just that little bit faster.”

Whether a gym-goer, individual or team sports player, this book has something of relevance and could give your next training session a different edge. There really is something for every keen sports science fan.

Karageorghis is a former head coach of Great Britain Students track and field team and has worked with British Athletics, England Rugby and Nike to name a few.

His research sees him delve into great depth over what exercise music to select and he provides a number of useful playlists which readers can apply to their respective training plans along the way.

I found this a particularly excellent feature that runs throughout the 200-plus pages. Be it dynamic strength training, cycling on a bike in the gym, boxercise or a simple cool-down after a session, there are playlist suggestions to suit a multitude of fitness disciplines.

Another intriguing concept explored is that of rhythm response. This is based on the idea that, as humans, our tendency is to move in sync with music. For example, when we hear a tune we like, we tap our feet or nod our head.

As someone who has never really dabbled with exercise music, this book is a welcome eye-opener to the potential benefits.

So I’m off to compile a playlist based on the writer’s recommendations. At the very least it will add a fresh dimension to sessions and at worst it’ll mean I’ve listened to a bunch of enjoyable songs.


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