This article by David Robson originally appeared in BBC
Costas Karageorghis at Brunel University London has pioneered much of the research in this field. In his book Applying Music in Exercise and Sport, he identified many ways in which music can improve physical performance. The most immediately obvious benefit is the intense emotional connection with certain songs. Listening to the Rocky movie soundtracks, for example, “can conjure positive imagery, a feeling that one can overcome adversity”. He compares it to Ivan Pavlov’s famous conditioning experiments – in which the mere sound of a bell, usually accompanying a meal, would have dogs salivating. Gonna fly now? The opening bars of Rocky’s theme song might just prime you to push yourself harder.
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