It’s not hard to tell that we’re obsessed with music but we’re also obsessed with science. So, we’re combining these two loves in a new recurring series that we’re calling: Talk Nerdy To Me.

Music is the soundtrack of our lives, and if you take a quick scan of your surroundings, you’ll find music everywhere! From waiting in line at the grocery story to reading at your favorite coffee shop to sweating at the gym — there’s nothing that beats the beat of music as we dance through life. It’s so present that we often even forget it’s even there.

Have you ever wondered WHY music finds its way into nearly every environment in our lives?
Or why it is such a powerful, cross-cultural phenomenon and has been since the earliest humans discovered they could clap their hands (or pick up a stick)? 😉

When we first started POUND, we went on a musical research rampage. We FELT the benefits and unique power of making music, and listening to music coursing through our bodies, both inside and outside of POUND, but we wanted to know exactly WHY it has this magnificently special and motivating effect on us in the gym in particular.

The magic hiding under each chorus, drum beat, guitar chord and riff is what you FEEL in a POUND class. And that magical feeling is no accident — it’s science! We’re here to Talk Nerdy to YOU today and breakdown our reasons to get movin’ with music!

5 Scientific Reasons Why Music Makes Your Workout More Effective

1. Humans are neurologically designed to follow a beat and to move when they hear it.

The sound of a simple down beat is enough to subconsciously induce movement — so that toe-tappin’ you’re doing right now to your headphones might be out of your control! Humans are the only mammals designed to predict beat and to move with it, rather than to respond to it.

For example, chimps clap AFTER they hear a beat, but we have the unique ability to feel an internal sense of rhythm and predict it. This ability makes things like dancing and playing music possible! New research suggests that syncing up to a beat while exercising markedly increases stamina and substantially increases metabolic functioning — something none of our other mammalian buddies can enjoy (sorry, chimps)!

2. Playing an instrument (like drums!) improves motor skills and coordination.

Playing an instrument allows you to learn your body’s physical position based on what you hear. This is called proprioception and it’s something we teach to our PROs as it’s a BIG benefit of taking POUND.

In simple terms, if you move your arm in this direction at this speed to strike this drum, it creates this specific sound. When your brain can detect where your body is, how exactly it is moving and how it feels based a corresponding sound, it can create a powerful roadmap that will IMPROVE coordination, spatial awareness and efficiency of movement.

3. Listening to music at the gym bumps up caloric burn.

Jammin’ out to your favorite song has been proven to diminish the pain of working out by triggering a surge of Dopamine, the sinfully pleasurable neurotransmitter we all secretly love. This feel-good chemical is also released when we eat and during sex, which reinforces our belief that, like eating and lovin’, music is also essential to sustaining a healthy life.

Combining that musically-driven dopamine release with the endorphins released during exercise makes us feel less pain, increases our exertion and physical output, and reduces our perception of exhaustion — in simple terms, it makes a challenging workout feel easier and therefore, more rewarding.

Listening to MUSIC while working out = higher calorie SIZZLE. Kapeesh?

Want MORE burn? Choose songs with a fast tempo (between 120 and 140 BPMs) that take more work for the brain to process and distract you from how hard you’re workin’. Get extra-sweaty with our Summer Playlist!

4. Making music is even more effective than listening to it.

There is brand new research that compares the benefits of working out TO music versus working out to MAKE music… like when you do POUND. Cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Tom Fritz has coined the term “musical agency,” which refers to our perception of controlling the music when we workout. He discovered that having a strong sense of musical agency significantly lowers scores of perceived exertion and his study participants reported forgetting that they were working out at all!!

“We know we’re sweaty, but HEY, how did THAT happen?!” Tends to happen in POUND class, right?

We could write about Dr. Fritz’s research for days — but we’ll spare you 😉 If you want to learn more about Dr. Tom Fritz’s research and “jymmin’”, click here.

5. Music relieves stress better than anything else.

We all hit the gym in effort to stay fit and to feel good — but most importantly, we go to the gym to take a deep breath of relief after a long day. Music contributes to that relief in a BIG way.

New research shows that listening to and making music is MORE effective than working out in regards to stress relief! Making music short-circuits our stress response, stopping our stress hormone, Cortisol, in it’s footsteps and triggering positive emotions. So, we suspect that making music AND working out at the same time are a winning combo to burn stress, decompress and release tension. (Helllllo, POUND class!)

We told you we were obsessed with this stuff and that we’d totally nerd out — but it makes sense, right?! Think of it this way: that exhilarating feeling you get after class that you can’t quite explain but you know is the highest high you’ve ever felt — THAT is achieved because you’re MAKING and LISTENING to music while putting your heart into the music… and to work!

Do you find music as incredibly fascinating as we do?! Share your thoughts, revelations and discoveries with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and we’ll be back to Talk Nerdy to you again soon!

Musically yours,
The POUND Girls