Style & ShowbizHealth

Music helps you work out harder

HealthBy Sunday World
Music helps you work out harder

Going to the gym can seem like a real chore, especially after a long day at work. Most people turn to music to help get them in the mood, going for something upbeat when they want to be spurred on the treadmill. And now it's been found there is a very good reason for that.

According to a team of researchers, listening to your top tunes actually helps your body reduce the amount of pain you're feeling. That's because it has the same effect on our brains as drugs like morphine - natural painkillers called opioids are released.

Daniel Levitin at McGill University in Canada looked into the effect of music on the brain, testing it by using a drug to block the opioid signals. People found their favourite tracks didn't make them feel as good when this happened.

Music also plays a role in producing dopamine, a chemical released by the brain and linked to reward-motivated behaviour. This is because it tends to be secreted just before something pleasurable happens, i.e. when people are looking forward to hearing their favourite song.

A group of exercisers were asked to work out on a machine which matched songs to the speed of their routine. When asked to rate how hard they'd worked, they all guessed too low, meaning they'd worked much harder than they thought.

Robin Dunbar of Oxford University has also looked into music and the brain, and he went a step further than Daniel. In this week's New Scientist publication he explained that being properly involved with music, so singing, dancing or playing an instrument, boosts your pain threshold even more.

All of this has caused a group of researchers to suggest music could be a great source of pain relief if investigated more thoroughly.

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