Mindset

Listening to Music During Exercise May Increase Fat Loss, Research Shows

Study: Subjects Burned More Fat Listening to Faster-Paced Music During Workouts

 

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By Mindy Wallace
Published:    | 221 Comments  | 193 Recommend
 
MusicWhen we think of a "fat burner," typically what comes to mind is something we ingest, like a pill or powder. 
 
However, science has shown us that a whole other realm of fat fighters exists that don't come in a bottle. Among the most potent of these unconventional diet supplements, according to recent research, is music. 
 
The fact that we're influenced by music should come as no surprise. Those who exercise to music have long recognized the intoxicating power of an adrenaline-boosting song. 
 
But recent studies show that music does more than just get us going or "pump us up." It may actually alter the body's physiology, or as Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Carlos Santana puts it, "rearrange the molecular structure of the listener." 
 
Faster-Paced Music Fuels Fat Loss 
 
The most recent of these studies investigating this peculiar phenomenon comes from the Department of Life Sciences at England's Nottingham Trent University. In this study, published last year in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, Dr. Attila Szabo and colleagues set out to investigate whether musical tempo and its manipulation during exercise affect maximal workload (measured in watts) achieved during progressive cycling. 
 
To test this, the researchers recruited 24 male and female college students and had them each cycle in five separate test sessions that included exercising to no music (the control group); slow music; fast music; slow-to-fast music; and finally fast-to-slow music. In the last two conditions, musical tempo was changed when the participant's heart rate reached 70 percent of maximum. 
 
In all the test sessions, the participants started to cycle at 50 watts and then the workload was increased in increments of 25 watts every minute until self-declared exhaustion. Maximal-effort cycling was defined as the workload at the last completed minute of exercise. 
 
According to Dr. Szabo, results showed that a significantly higher workload was accomplished when the participants worked out to progressively "faster-paced" music. "The participants referred the slow-to-fast music sessions more than the other sessions," says Dr. Szabo. 
 
"Switching to slow-to-fast music during progressive exercise results in the accomplishment of more work (and increased fat burning) without proportional changes in heart rate." 
 
Whether these effects are due to an actual "rearrangement of the molecular structure" of the exerciser or simply to distraction from fatigue isn't clear. What is apparent, however, is the powerful effect progressively faster paced music can have on increasing exercise workload. 
 
Of course, consistency is the key to achieving greater fat-loss results with music. If done consistently over a period of weeks, listening to progressively faster-paced, uplifting music during your workouts could very well be associated with increased cardiovascular conditioning, but greater fat loss, as well. 
 
Music

Study results showed increased performance and fat loss was seen when the participants worked out to progressively "faster-paced" music.

 
 
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Research Update
Acupuncture May Relieve Depression, New Research Suggests

Acupuncture

The ancient art of acupuncture may be just as effective as certain prescription medications for relieving depression, according to new research.

Researchers at the University of Arizona at Tucson split 34 depressed subjects into three groups: 12 subjects received acupuncture specifically designed for depression, 11 got acupuncture designed to treat other conditions like back pain or headache and 11 got no treatment.

After eight weeks, the people who received the depression specific acupuncture reported a reduction of symptoms four times higher than that seen in the other acupuncture group.

When all the people in the study were placed on the specific program for another eight weeks, nearly two-thirds of them showed complete remission (relief) of their depression.

That rate is about the same seen in patients who receive antidepressant medication or psychotherapy, says lead study author John J.B. Allen, Ph.D.

While traditional acupuncturists believe the technique restores balance between yin and yang forces within the body, some Western researchers theorize it works by releasing endorphins, natural body chemicals that relieve pain and enhance feelings of pleasure.

Whatever the mechanism, “These findings suggest that acupuncture is sufficiently effective against depression to warrant a much larger trial,” says Dr. Allen.


Sunlight May Brighten Your Mood, Research Shows

Sun

As the spring and summer months draw near, some of us notice a dramatic increase in energy, quality of sleep, a reduction in food cravings and an overall improvement in mental focus.

So what’s this all about? These improvements in quality of life may have to do with the soothing effect increased sunlight has on a condition called  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Individuals with SAD experience depression during the fall and winter but feel fine during the spring and summer. SAD appears to be more common the farther north you go. In the South, less  than one percent of the population experience SAD, while in Alaska and Canada as many as 10 percent suffer from SAD.

Researchers believe SAD results from a  lack of sunshine and the colder temperatures associated with the fall and winter seasons. Under these colder, darker conditions, the “biological clock” in some people simply runs slower, causing hormonal disturbances and depression.

Fortunately, numerous studies show treating sufferers with bright light can reset the “biological clock” that regulates hormones, sleep and mood. In fact, as little  as 30 minutes of light therapy per day can yield about 75 percent clinical remissions.

So get out and enjoy the warmer weather, and remind yourself that it may offer you more than just fun in the sun. It may offer you a prescription for good mental health.

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