What makes a great workout
song? It appears the following
must be true for a song to make anyone's top 5 list for working out.

Must
invoke happiness.

Must
get you pumped up.

Have
a good beat.

Makes
you want to move.

Remind
you of past pleasant experiences.

But which songs really help
out during a workout? Well you'd
be surprised. Laurence O'Donnell
has researched this idea and found the following trends.

Music seems to be one of the
basic actions of humans. However, early music was not handed down from
generation to generation or recorded. The influence of music on society can be
clearly seen from modern history. Music helped Thomas Jefferson write the
Declaration of Independence. When he could not figure out the right wording for
a certain part, he would play his violin to help him. The music helped him get
the words from his brain onto the paper.

In general, responses to
music are able to be observed. It has been proven that music influences humans
both in good and bad ways. These effects are instant and long lasting. Music is
thought to link all of the emotional, spiritual, and physical elements of the
universe. Music can also be used to change a person's mood, and has been found
to cause like physical responses in many people simultaneously. Music also has
the ability to strengthen or weaken emotions from a particular event such as a
funeral.

People perceive and respond
to music in different ways. The level of musicianship of the performer and the
listener as well as the manner in which a piece is performed affects the
"experience" of music. An experienced and accomplished musician might
hear and feel a piece of music in a totally different way than a non-musician
or beginner. This is why two accounts of the same piece of music can contradict
themselves.

Rhythm is also an important
aspect of music to study when looking at responses to music. There are two
responses to rhythm. These responses are hard to separate because they are
related, and one of these responses cannot exist without the other. These
responses are (1) the actual hearing of the rhythm and (2) the physical
response to the rhythm. Rhythm organizes physical movements and is very much
related to the human body. For example, the body contains rhythms in the
heartbeat, while walking, during breathing, etc. Another example of how rhythm
orders movement is an autistic boy who could not tie his shoes. He learned how
on the second try when the task of tying his shoes was put to a song. The
rhythm helped organize his physical movements in time.

Responses to music are easy
to be detected in the human body. Classical music from the baroque period
causes the heart beat and pulse rate to relax to the beat of the music. As the
body becomes relaxed and alert, the mind is able to concentrate more easily.
Furthermore, baroque music decreases blood pressure and enhances the ability to
learn. Music affects the amplitude and frequency of brain waves, which can be
measured by an electro-encephalogram. Music also affects breathing rate and
electrical resistance of the skin. It has been observed to cause the pupils to
dilate, increase blood pressure, and increase the heart rate.

Many revealing scientific
experiments, studies, and research projects have been performed to try and
discover the extent of the power of music. Up until 1970, most of the research
done on music had to do with studying the effects of the beat of the music. It
was found that slow music could slow the heartbeat and the breathing rate as
well as bring down blood pressure. Faster music was found to speed up these
same body measurements.

The key component of music
that makes it beneficial is order. The order of the music from the baroque and
classical periods causes the brain to respond in special ways. This order
includes repetition and changes, certain patterns of rhythm, and pitch and mood
contrasts. One key ingredient to the order of music from the baroque and
classical periods is math. This is realized by the body and the human mind
performs better when listening to this ordered music.

Another key to the order in
music is the music being the same and different. The brain works by looking at
different pieces of information and deciding if they are different or the same.
This is done in music of the baroque and classical periods by playing a theme
and then repeating or changing the theme. The repetition is only done once.
More than one repetition causes the music to become displeasing, and also
causes a person to either enter a state of sub-conscious thinking or a state of
anger.

An Australian physician and
psychiatrist, Dr. John Diamond, found a direct link between muscle
strength/weakness and music. He discovered that all of the muscles in the
entire body go weak when subjected to the "stopped anapestic beat" of
music from hard rock musicians, including Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Queen,
The Doors, Janis Joplin, Bachman - Turner Overdrive, and The Band. Dr. Diamond
found another effect of the anapestic beat. He called it a
"switching" of the brain. Dr. Diamond said this switching occurs when
the actual symmetry between both of the cerebral hemispheres is destroyed
causing alarm in the body along with lessened work performance, learning and
behavior problems in children, and a "general malaise in adults."

Careful what you download!

What Do You Think?