Workout music and your supplementary motor cortex

25 Jun

Why do we like to listen to tunes when we exercise? And how does imagining our workout make us stronger? [MindHacks]

Mind Hacks

Why do we like to listen to tunes when we exercise? Psychologist Tom Stafford searches for answers within our brains, not the muscles we are exercising.

Perhaps you have a favourite playlist for going to the gym or the park. Even if you haven’t, you’re certain to have seen joggers running along with headphones in their ears. Lots of us love to exercise to music, feeling like it helpsto reduce effort and increase endurance. As a psychologist, the interesting thing for me is not just whether music helps when exercising, but how it helps.

One thing is certain, the answer lies within our brains, not the muscles we are exercising. A clue comes from an ingenious study, which managed to separate the benefits of practicing a movement from the benefits of training the muscle that does the movement. If you think that sounds peculiar, several studies have…

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