“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.” ― Hunter S. Thompson
Some things in life just come naturally to us. For me, fitness is not one of them. Whether it’s dealing with the daily shoulder pain I have from a high school swimming injury, or exploring a new yoga class which makes me feel like a rock star, (until the mirror stares me right back into reality), working out and staying in shape have never been my strong suits. And yet, as I grow older, I look forward to challenging myself physically more than ever before. Perhaps, it has taken me 30+ years to understand the sweetest rewards often follow bitter struggles. And I’m sure many of you know, starting a daily workout routine from scratch after 2 kids and a 5-year on-again/off-again relationship with the gym is a valid struggle to say the least.
Last week, as I was leaving a particularly challenging yoga class, I should have felt accomplished and rejuvenated. However, I felt drained. I couldn’t pinpoint what the problem was. I slept well the night before and downed my coffee just like I always do. Then it hit me. I always hear one of my favorite songs during the class, and today I didn’t. For me, new playlist meant no energy.
Which brings me to what has always come naturally to me: Music.
I never have to think twice when it comes to music. Just as running or dance is to some, music is my oxygen. It’s what energizes me, relaxes me and fuels my motivation to push myself beyond what I deem to be comfortable. So it makes sense that without my music, my fuel, I lack the energy required to realize my full potential, especially when it comes to working out.
Have you ever found yourself aimlessly roaming the aisles of a grocery store, reaching half-heartedly for the kale for that green smoothie that you plan on making, for real this time, when suddenly you hear “Take on Me” over the speaker and suddenly that kale becomes the coolest thing in your cart? That’s more than just a song giving you that spring in your step; that’s science.
According to Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading authorities on music and exercise from London’s Brunel University School of Sport and Education, “music is like a legal drug for athletes. It can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent.”
Coming across this information partially validated what I had innately known all along, at least about myself. Music’s potency on our minds and bodies reaches far beyond what we have the ability to consciously comprehend. When I exercise, an area in which I often struggle, I allow my strength in music to channel my own physical strength to complete a workout, and to push myself even further at times.
So, I invite you to join me in the challenge to channel music when things begin to get hard. Whether you’re going through a difficult workout or a really hard day at the office, take a minute to get out of your head, and get into the music. Need some inspiration? Below, I have listed some of my favorites from over the years. These songs are off of my running playlist, so warning; some of them are extra chipper!
Motivational music for your playlist:
Born to Fly– Sarah Evans
From Yesterday– 30 Seconds to Mars
Hallelujah– Vitamin String Quartet
Human– The Killers
I Don’t Feel Like Dancing– Scissor Sisters
I Wanna Be Sedated– Ramones
I Will Not Be Afraid of Women– Dar Williams
Starships– Nicki Minaj
Take On Me– Ah Ha!
You are All I Need– Bethany Dillon
What music inspires and challenges you?
Written by Susan Madden – Elite Sports Clubs member, mom, and guest blogger.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.