“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato
We live in a time when technology has brought us closer to music than ever before, enshrining its role in our emotional and social lives. According to the available evidence, music captures attention, triggers a range of emotions, alters or regulates mood, increases work output, heightens arousal, induces states of higher functioning, reduces inhibitions and encourages rhythmic movement. When it comes to listening music and running there starts a debate.
It comes with its own pros and cons.
Listening to music during workout has the following benefits:
- It improves performance and decreases the perceived exertion and fatigue
- Ergogenic effect of music is evident as it improves exercise performance by either delaying fatigue or increasing work capacity. This effect results in higher than expected levels of endurance, power, productivity or strength.
- The researches show that it reduces perception of effort during a strenuous workout–which explains why you tend to pick up the pace when a good song comes on.
- It helps your body and focuses your mind to maintain a good tempo to run a strong steady pace.
- When listening to music while running, it naturally focuses the brain away from fatigue and soreness. This in turn allows the runner to run further without feeling like you need to stop because you are too tired to keep going.
But despite of all of the benefits music brings to the table, there are plenty of reasons to leave your tunes behind when you head out on your next run.
Studies have found that while running if your level of effort is high then listening to music does not have a positive effect on your performance, but rather it can have a negative effect. This is because the music can distract you from the goal you are trying to achieve.
Music can take away the focus of the runners. They have to make sure their form is right to get the most out of every stride and focus on controlling their breathing so enough oxygen is flowing through their body so they do not catch cramps while running. Moreover you spend half the run trying to keep sweaty headphones from falling out of your ears.
- RISK OF INJURY
Running with music causes the runners to loose sense of their surroundings. Runners can no longer hear what is going on around them. This puts the runners at risk of getting hurt by cars if working out near busy streets, or any where that the runner should be cautious of what’s around them.
- BODY AWARENESS
Without music in your ears, you are likely to be much more aware of how your body feels and reacts at a certain pace. When you run hard intervals, you can easily register an increase in breathing rate and notice how your arm swing and leg stride might change as you surge and recover.Being able to tune into your body with no distractions allows you to focus on maintaining a relaxed, smooth stride through the harder efforts, and to be able to calm and deepen your breathing to carry more oxygen to the legs. With that up-tempo playlist blasting in your ears, you might miss the cues from your body that you’re pushing an interval too hard—or not hard enough.
If you’ve been a runner for long enough, you’ve most likely experienced the feeling of being in the zone during a run or race. Also known as being in “flow,” and some of the best sports performances happen in this state. In flow, your mind is locked on the task , time seems to shift, the world falls away and you feel confident in your body and its abilities to meet any challenge. But with earbuds in, your mind often focuses on what you are listening to, rather than dropping into that heightened awareness that flow requires.
- REDUCTION IN RUNNING PERFORMANCE
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that carrying that giant iPhone 7 Plus on your arm for thousands and thousands of steps won’t impact your gait. The extra weight on one side creates a slight imbalance in your body that gets magnified over the miles and can lead to poor form, muscles strains or injuries. Having one less item to carry on your run means less weight to lug through each workout.
One of the best things about running music-free is getting to experience the change in the seasons through the sounds of nature on a run. The crystalline stillness of a winter morning, the birdcalls of a dewy spring day, the damp air and cicadas of summer, the crunch of the leaves under your feet in fall—all sounds you would miss with headphones on. With so many sounds and screens demanding your attention each day, a device-free run is an amazing way to unplug. Enjoying nature’s own soundtrack is refreshing on more than one level; you may find it’s just plain easier to appreciate nature when you are fully present in the moment. Just enjoy the world around you.
So, in a nutshell listening to music and not listening to music is a matter of totally a personal choice but before stepping on donning a earphone weigh it pros and cons carefully.
Dr. Richa Tandon (PT)