If you are a personal trainer who notices how uplifting a body combat or step aerobics class can be for your students, chances are, you don’t need to be sold on one powerful fact: music makes it all seem so easy! Lovers of dance beats probably notice that music can help them motivate clients to work at a high rhythm and give their workout they’re all. However, what does science have today about music? Is it really a panacea that can improve our fitness and inspire us to reach for higher ground?

What does science have to day about music? Is it really a panacea that can improve our fitness and inspire us to reach for higher ground?

Work to the Rhythm

A study by David-Lee Priest et al, published in the International Review of Sport and Exercise Physiology, has found that stimulating music can enhance interest, reduced the level of perceived exertion, improve energy efficiency and lead us to work harder when taking part in endurance-type workouts. The reasons for these promising results are manifold. They include music’s ability to make us feel more positive about our workout, as well as our natural ‘rhythm response’. The latter refers to our innate predisposition to synchronize movement with the lively beats we are listening to. Of course, your clients don’t have to be taking part in an innately musical class (such as Zumba or dance aerobics) to enjoy this bolstering effect. By popping a pair of headphones on, they can cater the sounds to their treadmill or running workout, bringing the beats with them wherever they go.

Choosing the Right Intensity

As a personal trainer who loves music, you might choose to motivate your clients by making a soundtrack they can listen to while carrying out the workouts you prescribe. Make sure to pick a beat that is fast, but not too frenetic. A study by L Jones et al, published in the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, found that music that is too low is inappropriate to all intensities, but music that is too fast can be over-arousing and unfamiliar. Try to keep the tracks to speeds of between 115 and 140 bpm, building up the speed in line with target heart rates for specific parts of the workout.

Paying Heed to Personal Preference

Although getting the tempo right for your clients is key, don’t lose sight of one crucial fact: human beings feel most motivated by the music they actually like. Therefore, it is a good idea to ask your clients to send you their current playlist, so you can get a feel for what might inspire them. A study presented at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference found that participants who listened to their favorite tunes were able to enter ‘the zone’ more intensely and reduce their perceived effort. The study was carried out on people in three competitive sports groups (football, netball, and running). Interestingly, music was found to boost enjoyment, focus, and awareness equally across all sports.

If you always felt that music had an inimitable power to bring out the best in your clients, science definitely is on your side, with so many findings pointing to its positive effects. When creating a workout file, make sure to vary beats in accordance with intended heart rates for different parts of the workout. Finally, try to stick to the music your clients love the most; it will motivate them in a personal and very profound way.

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Sally Perkins

Sally Perkins is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.

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