Movement and Music

Jul 8, 2019 | Teacher's Corner

The Fitness League tag line tells us that ‘Movement is Life’. Our bodies are made to move. They like moving. Movement is essential for cardiovascular health, mental and emotional health and the maintenance of mobility, strength and stability. What happens when we add music to the movement?

Music is one of the great pleasures of life. Many writers and philosophers have written about the value of music to the well being of humans. One being the Greek Philosopher Plato, who wrote, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

Music gives life to movement. When movement is synchronised with music it enhances the workout experience. Moving to music affects us physically, psychologically and socially.

Music activates significantly more parts of the brain than other stimuli. Different parts of the brain are stimulated by the different facets of music – rhythm, tempo, melody, harmony and lyrics. Listening to and moving to music is very much a multisensory motor experience. External factors such as culture, musical background, preferences and associations also determine how we interpret music. Music gets recorded in our motions and our emotions.

 

Music sets the scene. It can turn the mundane and monotonous into a fun and enjoyable activity. It provides a distraction from the stresses of life. This feeling of pleasure and enjoyment affects hormone levels and can change our thought processes, perception of pain, mood, focus and alertness – our overall feeling of wellness.

An example of this is the relaxation and stretch at the end of the class. This helps you to wind down and you carry the benefits of this with you through the day. Your stress levels are decreased which in turn boosts your immune system response.

Music takes us back in time. It elicits memories and feelings. It stimulates and ignites an excitement for and an enjoyment of life. It also creates and builds community as we identify with the music, sing a long, share memories and experiences and have fun moving together.

Music is a great motivator when it comes to exercise. It can reduce our perception of effort quite significantly. Music with different tempos and rhythms can be used to increase performance and endurance for various workout routines. This improves the overall quality of and the physiological benefits of the workout. Music rewards us!

(Brenda Ramsay)

References
1.Dan Peterson; Music benefits exercise, studies show
2. Let the music move you; Benefits of exercise with music
3.Karageorghis, Costas I. Applying music in exercise and sport ;1st edition (2016). Human kinetics.
4.Levitin. D. J (2006) This is your brain on music: The science of a human obsession. New York; Dutton

I think the words to the song “Better when I’m dancin’” by Meghan Trainor say all of the above far more succinctly.

And I quote:

“Don’t think about it
Just move your body
Listen to the music
Sing, oh, ey, oh

 Just move those left feet
Go ahead, get crazy
Anyone can do it
Sing, oh, ey, oh

Show the world you’ve got that fire (fire)
Feel the rhythm getting louder

Show the room what you can do
Prove to them you got the moves
I don’t know about you,

But I feel better when I’m dancing, yeah, yeah
Better when I’m dancing, yeah, yeah
And we can do this together
I bet you feel better when you’re dancing, yeah, yeah

When you finally let go
And you slay that solo
‘Cause you listen to the music
Sing, oh, ey, oh

‘Cause you’re confident, babe
And you make your hips sway
We knew that you could do it
Sing, oh, ey, oh”