Many of us use music for motivation when engaged in calorie burning activities, but does it make a real difference? For sure if you are doing aerobics you are probably tuned into music as it helps to coordinate the moves and set the pace, but what about other activities like riding a stationary bike or walking or running?
In 2005 a set of British researchers decided to investigate to see if music had an impact on physical activity during work-outs. They put 18 everyday men and women on stationary bikes and split them into three groups. The first had no music. The second had calming, laid back music and the third had high energy, fast-moving music. The participants then were told to get in gear and go for it.
The results were quite interesting. Those with both kinds of music blew away the other group and traveled a significant distance more to boot. Another neat point was that the music groups did not perceive an increased level of effort even though they were working much harder. Ultimately, the study shows that using some form of stimuli to disassociate yourself from what could be perceived as discomfort, will take you a lot further than if you are focused solely on the activity at hand.
I've seen this first hand and never go on power walks without music in my ears. For me its not only about disassociation, but also about setting a pace as my music is carefully selected to help drive my feet at higher speeds. And it works! I can sustain 5mph for an hour with the right music dialed-in.
Another example is when I have extended phone conversations - usually for business. I try to go outside and walk while talking. As long as I'm not having to dodge any hazards or obstructions I can engage myself in the conversation and forget I am walking. Typically the pace is less frantic, more in the range of 4mph, but that turns into some serious calorie burn after 30 minutes or so.
It really comes down to your level of enthusiasm and commitment. There are plenty of simple tricks to increase your calorie burn on a daily basis without going too crazy. So next time you engage, turn up the music and burn some extra pounds.