The benefits of exercise are numerous but there is a simple trick that can take your workout and overall health to the next level.
The Mayo Clinic suggests that exercise can control weight, combat health conditions, and even increase mood by stimulating brain chemicals that’ll leave you feeling freshened and less anxious than before the gym. It boosts energy and can even help improve sleeping patterns, plus exercise can even better your sex drive and career.
With exercising having many benefits, finding the right groove might take time. Some opt for the traditional still bike in the gym, while others have moved to more rigorous routines like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or overpriced workout classes with peers. But with the right soundtrack, working out can be much easier, which can even help your appetite, according to two new studies.
Turn it up
Researchers in Italy found that more upbeat, high-tempo music can help people exercising relax and increase the workout’s overall benefits and experience. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Verona, found that engaging, fast-paced songs were extremely beneficial when it came to cardio exercises like walking or jogging, but it wasn’t the same for activities like weight lifting.
Published in Frontiers in Psychology, the study is the first to find that listening to higher tempo music reduces the perceived effort that comes with exercising
“We found that listening to high-tempo music while exercising resulted in the highest heart rate and lowest perceived exertion compared with not listening to music,” Professor Luca P. Ardigo of the University of Verona in Italy said in a statement “This means that the exercise seemed like less effort, but it was more beneficial in terms of enhancing physical fitness.”
For the study, researchers had 19 active women (aged 24 to 31) do two separate workouts. One focused on endurance, which involved walking on a treadmill, while the other was a high-intensity exercise, in this case using a leg press machine. Researchers had volunteers complete their exercise sessions in silence and while listening to pop music at different tempos of 90-110 beats per minute (bpm), 130-150 bpm), and 170-190 bpm. Following the trials, participants’ opinions about their effort and heart rates were reordered to determine which was more beneficial.
Results pointed toward the effects of music being more noticeable in volunteers during endurance exercises as opposed to high-intensity sessions.
“In the current study, we investigated the effect of music tempo in exercise, but in the future we would also like to study the effects of other music features such as genre, melody, or lyrics, on endurance and high-intensity exercise,” Ardigo said.
How exercise helps your appetite
As stated, physical activity has many health benefits — and it even has a positive factor for your appetite.
A study from researchers at Drexel University published in Health Psychology found exercise provided a “protective factor” for participants who were following a reduced-calorie diet, which essentially shielded participants from overeating.
“Almost all behavioral weight loss programs prescribe exercise because of its health benefits and because it expends energy or ‘burns calories,’” Rebecca Crochiere, a graduate student in at Drexel and lead author of the study, said in a statement. “Interestingly, our study suggests that exercise may also aid in adhering to a reduced-calorie diet, perhaps through improved regulation of appetite or eating behavior. It adds another reason to engage in exercise if one is seeking weight loss.”
Researchers noted that when participants, which included 130 adults, did not engage in exercise, the risk of overeating after the workout was about 12%. However, if participants worked out for 60 minutes, the risk of overeating decreased by a large margin, down to 5%. The study had participants wear fitness trackers and issues them surveys via their phones multiple times a day to measure their eating habits.
“These findings can help researchers to better understand when participants who are seeking weight loss are at risk of overeating,” Crochiere said. “It can inform the development of treatments that prevent overeating and facilitate weight loss.”