Making Music Makes Us Stronger
No, it’s not news that it’s easier to workout to the beat of a favorite song, but what if the song is one that you yourself are playing? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognition and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany decided to find out, with help from some weight training machines that were rigged up to function much like boom boxes. Gretchen Reynolds reports in the New York Times that the researchers recruited a group of 63 healthy men and women and divided them into groups, each of which was assigned to use one of three types of music machines (a stair stepper and two types of weight machines) for six minutes of exercise. While the machines pumped music at 130 beats per minute, the men and women literally created their own music by modulating rhythms and creating melodies. Throughout the exercise, the researchers measured the force generated by the subjects, who were later asked to rate the difficulty of the exercise on a scale of 1 to 20. What did they find? Those people who were making their own music used less oxygen and generated significantly greater force. Reynolds writes that “Creating their own rhythms and melodies had lowered the physiological cost of exercise and greatly increased its subjective allure compared with when the exercisers passively listened to virtually the same music.” Read more in the New York Times.