Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
May 25, 2017
One thing I definitely talk about is the role of music in my life. Heck, my last blog post was about another fallen rock icon, for even though I had nothing to do with that person and that person had nothing to do with me, you still feel a certain loss in your life. While I was more of a Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails fan from that period, it was still a pretty big bummer when I heard the news trickling in. For me, going out and experiencing some new music in my life keeps me invariably young and vibrant, which was something I kind of agreed with in regards to Colin Cowherd, a sports talk personality at Fox Sports. While people made fun of Brett Favre for having the longest retirement tour ever, or making fun of Michael Jordan’s bizarre turn with the Washington Wizards back in the day, he took up a different approach. When you immerse yourself in culture that is different than yours, especially when you hang around younger people, it tends to energize and in some cases rekindle you. Music for me is especially prescient of this attitude, for while I felt out of place at some shows I went to back in the day—drinking in the over 21 section—it made me feel a lot better about my age. I will probably hit some bands at the designated all ages venue here in Tucson called 191 Toole, which seems to cater to younger people considering some of the bands showing up there are aiming at younger concert goers. I actually know some of these bands, like Saint Pe and Bob Log III, especially since both artists have been around in other incantations in the music industry. But I will also hit up a screamo punk band Okilly Dokilly that repurposes quotes from Ned Flanders (while also dressing like The Simpson’s character) sometime this July. You honestly have to see the video to love this out of place band from Phoenix. https://youtu.be/2BEvh6HSQc0
Anyway, the advent of music in our lives can be measured in literally hundreds of studies. There is a reason why so many people try to play dreamy music for their infant while in the womb, or why people respond differently to certain tones. James Hetfield, the iconic front man for Metallica kind of said it best when someone asked him why he was still playing metal. “They say you are supposed to mellow out as you get older. But for me, I just feel happy. I just want to scream!” Something to that degree…couldn’t find the exact quote. Either way, the interpretation of the music is unique to each person. This is why the easiest way to start a flame war at the gym is to start talking about the music selection. This is no exception at Parsons Training, for Jon has fortunately put the decision making in the hands of the trainers rather than then hands of the consumer. God, for all we know…someone might want to play country music or the ill fated day I was given carte blanche and fired up the Mega Man music (seriously, that stuff just gets me pumping!). Either way, I’m not a big fan of any of the music that gets heavy rotation at the gym, so I take personal glee when I get a chance to actually dictate the play list. I mean, if you remember back in the day, one of Jon’s best threats for me and best motivators was music! For those that have not been reading the blog long enough, I was frequently challenged to do a certain amount of exercises with the threat of country music as the punishment. Needless to say, I really performed well on those days, and there was only an occasional lapse where I just was not good enough to get the job done. Of course, the entire gym got angry but fortunately this was on days where the amount of people working out was negligible. Of course, Jon still tortures me from time to time with Taylor Swift, playing various songs like “Shake it off” or whatever. The fact I know one of the song names makes me feel sick inside, by the way. Not to mention my socks he adorned with the name Taylor Swift is still stained on the cotton!
Anyway, there is some actual research out there that kind of ties in the effects of music and health. First and foremost, music can have a rather peaceful effect on our mind in a meditative state, among other things. http://www.chatelaine.com/health/wellness/music-boosts-immunity-weight-loss-happiness/ One thing this particular article really touches on is listening to the right kind of music. When looking to wind down from a hard workout or easing the stress of a crazy day (which I run into quite a bit), listening to music that is much slower and more spaced out is beneficial. As the beats perpetuate through the rhythms, your heart beat can actually seek to match the music! Now this is bordering into the whole hippie, metaphysical side of the coin, for a lot of people scoff at the idea of meditation and stuff. But for me, I am a firm believer these days. Take this for what it is worth, but I have to tell you about the best part of yoga…at least the yoga I was doing. For some reason, the best part for me was the guided mediation, especially when my yogi Rhue was playing some soft music in the background. I never thought this sort of thing would really ring true for me, but lo and behold, I did feel at ease and peace after the guided meditation. I now do this for myself once a week, primarily because my job causes quite a bit of stress for me, even if I get some rather awkward and difficult calls during the day time.
Now I am sure you are wondering…why am I going through this weird wormhole? Let’s face it, this sort of thing effects your health in more ways than one. For me, when I used to overeat, I did so because of my penchant for watching football and then crashing for hours on end. I still haven’t watched a full football game on television since the 2012 Super Bowl (Giants baby!!)! Anyway, I found a cool little article from a small study back in the early 2000s that did point out some correlation between eating more food when you throw in the factor of faster music playing in the background. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666306003849 Of course, it is hard to really take the word of college students, but let us suspend our belief for a second and look at the natural function of the body. And here is another little thread to the pattern…sound can possibly alter the way food tastes! https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/mar/11/sound-affects-taste-food-sweet-bitter The type of music you play in your restaurant might play a role in how people react to your food, for some food experts put together an impromptu study that showed people reacted to certain foods better with different types of music. Even smells apparently aided in the reaction to certain foods. While there is no scientific proof to this sort of study, it might be a good idea to pay attention to these features when going to a restaurant that is quite successful. While the service and the food are certainly top reasons why a place may do well, auditory factors may help. Unfortunately, for my flight attendant friends, apparently airline food will never be considered good due to the supposed drone of the plane and the cabin pressure altering people’s senses. While a lot of this stuff needs to be studied and looked into, maybe it is a way for me to battle some of my food addictions. Apparently, the right sonic level might even induce a sweet sensation! On another subject, a lot of people—especially when they go running—play fast and hard music to keep their pace at a race speed (unless you are superhuman like the guy that almost ran a two-hour marathon http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/06/health/sub-two-hour-marathon-nike/). Heck, think about the “sexier” side of relationships. If you want a slow and sensual pace to the “festivities,” are you going to play the slow and smooth bass lines of Wayman Tisdale or listen to some ridiculous speed guitar solos from DragonForce? Some people even say that music helps them study, especially when the tune is rather nondescript and droning. Now I am not saying this is all cut and dry, but a lot of this stuff works. I remember one of the best runs I ever had. I was dragging horribly, even though my usual running music was blaring in my ears. I was in a rut, my heart needed a jumpstart and my adrenaline was lagging. But then some faster, more turbocharged songs started hitting my ears. My heart started racing and I upped my pace. After a few songs at a faster rate, I found myself able to maintain that pace once my usual music selection turned up. From that day, I started creating play lists that were slow the first 20-30 minutes, had a much faster pace in the 20-30 minute middle range, and then back to the original pace. I usually finished the selection with a long song, for it often times would give me a heads up that the run was going to be over, and I thus would need to push hard.
So far I have mostly talked about music and how it MIGHT affect us in our day to lives. Some of it is conjecture and speculation, which I cannot prove to the highest degree. I will say this…music has been linked to better sleep patterns. So there is that! http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/can-music-help-me-sleep#1 According to WEbMD, various studies have figured out a rather optimal level of beats per second to help with sounder sleeping. Apparently, music with a rhythm that has roughly 60 beats per second is an optimal way of falling asleep. These studies have found this to be evident in the most restless of test subjects…young and elderly men. Now what does a 60-beat per second song really sound like? Much of the best examples are classical songs, but this tune by The Marconi Union was listed as one of the most relaxing songs ever. https://youtu.be/UfcAVejslrU Now I dig this kind of droning music, but some long, sonically challenging tunes from the likes of Cloud Nothings and Godspeed You! Black Emperor! will also cut the cake for me as well. Heck, just about any song that is over seven minutes long for me will aid in my sleep pattern. I often times take a quick nap thinking that a few songs will suffice and then two hours later, I find myself cuddled with my pups and extremely relaxed. This is all subjective, for I have fallen asleep with some really long and crazy music. But then again, this might mean I have a sleep problem (which is highly likely). I have dealt with sleep problems for much of my life, so I guess I am kind of used to it at this point in my life.
So what really triggered this whole talk of music? I know I have been a musical nerd and snob on this blog before, so I once again shoveled out some hard earned cash and took in a concert from one of the more underrated bands in my library…Band of Horses. The cool thing is Jon and Christa were also at the show, so it was nice to have someone join me for once at one of these gatherings. Needless to say, a night of good music, beer and company sure made it worth being cranky and tired the next day. Needless to say, I did feel pretty refreshed the next day even though I only got four hours of rest of the evening. But hey, they at least started the show on time and ended at a reasonable hour. Needless to say, I don’t consider Band of Horses good workout music for me even though they have some good music. I’m one of the weird ones. I need a weird, consistent rhythm when I do my running and my workout. I’m probably unlike most of the people of this world. But then again, I know someone that used to listen to books on audio when they did their running. Now that's pretty unusual. To each there now they might say.
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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