Almost everyone on Earth knows and accepts the fact that music makes everything in life better, I personally couldn’t live without it. But did you know that music can improve your ability in various areas of life, specifically in your sports performance?
There are several ways in which music has been proven to help increase your sports performance for a wide variety of reasons. Here are some of the reasons why and how music could potentially increase your sports performance:
Dissociation refers to the way in which listening to music during a sport or workout can help to move your attention and focus away from factors that may prompt you to slow down or stop, such as fatigue or pain. Listening to music can mean that instead of focusing on this pain or tiredness, we are instead focusing on the lyrics or beat of the music, meaning that we feel the other sensations less. In fact, sports scientists at Brunel University found that listening to music during a sport can increase your endurance by up to 15%! This would mean that listening to music whilst completing a marathon, could increase the distance you can run from 4000m all the way up to nearly 4500m, a significant increase.
‘Flow’ is a state of altered mental state of awareness, in which our mind and body act as if on ‘auto-pilot’ and we find ourselves with increased motivation and getting far more performance out of ourselves. This state is also referred to as ‘Being in the zone’ by many fitness coaches. If chosen correctly, music can help you to put aside all other distractions and allow you to focus 100% of your physical and mental ability onto the sport/task at hand. This trance-like state allows you to perform far better than when all your energy is not being focused to this one task. I recommend listening to music that is fast-paced if you are trying to beat a time record, for example.
Synchronising your music’s beats with repetitive exercises or sports is a fantastic technique for being able to massively increase your skill and performance in your sport of choice. Listening to music with a specific rhythm can help to alter the rhythm of our steps or running so that we find ourselves into a better flow of movement, potentially increasing our performance and efficiency. Furthermore, listening to music with a slower pace can help massively with our concentration in sports where complete focus is needed to succeed. A study found that, when practising, golfers often listen to classical music to help calm their nerves and focus on the task at hand.
Provoking positive emotions
There have been several studies that have found certain genres and types of music to be linked to positive emotions and good moods, even causing listeners to forget about negative ones. Music is fantastic for increasing your motivation via triggering a series of positive emotions while participating in a sport or exercise. We are more likely to continue or perform greater in something we enjoy doing. For those who may be struggling to practise for a sport consistently, music may also help with finding the motivation to get up and go to the gym or running track, for example.