Where is music today?
Listening to music is one of many ways athletes prepare for competition and increase performance. Decades of technological investigation and exceptional innovation has brought us portable listening devices and wireless connectivity. From the Walkman and MP3 to mobile phones and streaming services, the world of music has never been more accessible than it is today.
Our computerised shift has resulted in a cross-generational introduction to the digital world, interlinking convenience with cyberspace, making all that we need available at our fingertips. The rising demand for wearable tech, fitness trackers and bluetooth listening tools, is predominantly associated to the positive edge it gives athletes when training. From smartwatches to headphones with touch sensor control, we have complete authority over the sound we consume and when we choose to do so. The impact of music on sports performance will vary from person to person, just because it works positively for some, doesn’t necessarily make it a tool that everyone finds useful.
Mood Elevation and Movement Regulation
Frequently, music is associated with mood enhancement, and these psychological benefits are specifically tied to the dynamics of sound, including factors like volume and rhythmic patterns evident in songs. This especially holds true if there is a synchrony between the cadence of the music and movements of the athlete themselves. Uptempo songs with higher bpm (beats per minute) can help athletes get into a positive mindset, improving their overall spirit and motivation. When an athlete utilises the pace of a song to regulate their movements and maintain momentum, they are benefiting elements of timing and coordination, areas from which are most applicable to running, cycling, or weightlifting.
Stress Reduction and Distraction from Discomfort
Engaging in high performance sports or long endurance sports can be both physically and mentally demanding. Music has shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels, providing athletes with a way to relax before, during, and after training or competitions, acting directly on the brain to produce dopamine and release endorphins to calm the central nervous system down. If you are athlete participating in intense physical activity often accompanied by discomfort or pain, music can serve as a distraction, helping athletes shift their focus away from the physical strain, allowing them to push through challenges.
Improved Concentration and Positive Associations
The tempo of a song acts as a metronome to guide activity, the right music will enhance concentration and focus. Athletes may find that certain genres and speeds will help them prolong the consistency of movement by enabling them to foster a connection between the beat and lyrics. Allowing the music to take control will condition athletes to enter an autopilot state, this removes any overthinking and gets them to perform movements naturally. You may have also built positive associations with songs from previous successful events or training sessions that can be used in the future to stimulate drive.
It is important to consider individual preferences and the nature of the training activity when incorporating music into sports. By tailoring the musical selection to suit personal needs, athletes can maximise the positive impact of music in their workouts.