Sports are important to a lot of people. So does music. I am sitting here writing an article about the effect music has on sports, as I listen to Metallica. Have you ever gone to the gym and ran or lifted weights without music? If you do, that’s probably pretty boring or you’re very selfmotivated. Some of us need the music to match the energy we’re exerting. Have you been to a sporting event without any music whatsoever? Music is an important piece of culture in general, but what does it mean to sports, and to any physical activity?
The advances in technology over the last two decades have made music so easily accessible. Anyone can now play music from their phone, which is usually glued to their hand. Lead researcher in the field of music in sport and exercise, Dr Costas Karageorghis, has primarily explored the psychological, psychophysical, psychophysiological and ergogenic effects of music in his book Inside Sports Psychology:
● The psychological effects refer to how music influences mood, affect, emotion, attitudes, cognition and behaviour.
● The psychophysical effects of music involve sensory responses to physiological processes. In music related research, this involves the perceptions of physical effort and is most often measured via the ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) scale.
● The psychophysiological effects of music relate to the influence of music on a range of physiological factors, such as heart rate and respiration rate.
● Music exerts an ergogenic effect when it improves physical performance by either delaying fatigue or increasing work capacity. This often results in higher than expected levels of endurance, power, productivity, or strength.
Many athletes can be seen coming into the locker rooms with their fancy Beats by Dre headphones. They’re either just trying to ignore the media, using the opportunity for product placement or they generally are listening to music to pump them up. I am going with the latter.
During the 2007 FINA World Championships, Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps, reportedly listened to hip-hop music before his races in order to focus and get psyched up. He pinpointed his focus on Lil Wayne’s lyrics “Yes, I’m the best and no, I ain’t positive, I’m definite, I know game like I’m reffing it.” Inspiring, right?
Research has training and workout music follow six criteria that help achieve benefits in performance:
● Strong rhythm
● Positive lyrics
● Rhythmic patterns that match movement
● Uplifting melodies
● Association with sports
● A musical style that matches athletes tastes and cultural upbringing.
If you find yourself going super hard on an elliptical, it’s most likely the music. If you’re not listening to music, I don’t know how you do it. You might even get more out of your workout if you did listen to music. Personally, I feel the Philadelphia Eagles wouldn’t have won the Super Bowl this year if they didn’t come out to Dreams and Nightmares by Meek Mill. Most athletes can probably name a handful of artists they listen to while training. That’s because the relation between sports and music is real.
-Tre Lopushinsky, Sports Co-Editor