It May Be Time To Rethink
Music While You Workout
If youve been among those enjoying a fitness centre, which
features loud music as you pump iron everyday, perhaps its
time for a rethink.
How is it harmful?
The noise hazard due to loud gym music is dependent on an individuals
susceptibility and to the level and duration of exposure to high-intensity
music. Damage caused due to regular exposure for prolonged periods
to sound levels above 85 decibel can put you at risk of noise-induced
hearing loss. The risk is proportional to the duration of exposure
greater the duration, higher the risk. Unfortunately, there
are no standardised tests which can predict who is at greater
risk. However, some researchers suggest that a cumulative effect
taken over a period of 24 hours for any individual can predict
the risk of hearing loss.
The ideal sound
Assuming the average aerobic workout or weight training session
lasts for nearly 45-60 minutes, the maximum noise level for the
music should be maintained up to 85 dB (decibel levels) or less.
Research suggests that listening to loud music, either through
an ambient source or headphones, for prolonged periods can at
least lead to temporary hearing loss (its reversible though;
typically felt after going to a night club with powerful sound).
Psychological effects: Good and bad
Just as music therapy has been proved to heal you, noise therapy
can harm you too! Research suggests that different categories
of music play a significant role on the peripheral nervous system
and also on the heart beat. Listening to techno music
while running or weight training can improve the peripheral blood
flow to the muscles and can allow the heart to beat more rhythmically.
Soothing or slow music is suitable while stretching and relaxing.
If youre into meditation or yoga, silence is best.
Plugging in the agony
If your portable music player is your inseparable friend while
working out, remember that a typical player generates sound volume
at a level of 100-130 decibel and most people keep the volume
to at least three fourth of the maximum. Now chew on this: the
noise of a motorcycle 30 feet away is about 80 decibel; the intensity
level in the front row of a rock concert is about 110 decibel
and the noise of a military jet taking off is about 140 decibel
at 100 feet.
Keep it low
A common perception is that louder the music, more enjoyable is
the exercise and harder the effort put in. However, a recent study
(by Wilson and Herbstein) has found that low-risk
sound levels (ie 85-dBA or less) could be used in aerobics classes
without reducing comfort, enjoyment, or motivation to exercise.
Again, an ambient source would still be preferable rather than
head/ear phones. So if your portable music player is a part of
you, the simplest way to care for your ears is to tune down the
volume or if thats too difficult, reduce the time you spend
with it plugged in. Focus on breathing and building your six-pack
Music and fitness
Music does play a role in motivation and recreation while gymming.While
pumping music aids aerobics and weight training, slow instrumentals
soothe your nerves while stretching and doing exercises.
January 7, 2010