Music is a very fascinating universal phenomenon. Almost everyone likes some sort of music, whether it be the twang of a country song or the intensity of a German rap. Music has the ability to completely change the mood of a situation. It has extensively been investigated and used as a form of therapy for the mind. Therefore it would be interesting to see if it had any impact on a person’s physical ability as well.
Music has been suggested to affect the body’s physiological patterns in many ways. A study done in 2003 (Yamamoto et. al) exemplified the wavering levels of neurotransmitters as the type of music was changed. When the participants listen to slow-rhythm music their plasma levels of norepinephrine decreased, and when they listened to fast-rhythm music their plasma levels of epinephrine increased. Norepinephrine is a hormone generally known for mechanisms of the sympathetic nervous system, originating the fight or flight response. When it is lowered, the body’s stress level is suppressed, caused by a decrease in blood pressure. Epinephrine is a similar hormone, commonly referred to as adrenaline, which has been known to produce sudden responses to combat stress. An increase in plasma levels would increase the heart rate and dilate air passages to promote the expansion of oxygen to the body’s vital organs. By simply choosing a different pace of music, the way our physiology works can be completely altered.
A different investigation was done to find the effects of Medical Resonance Therapy Music (MRT-Music) on cerebral blood flow (Shemagonov & Sidorenko, 2000). The arterial make up in the cerebrum is hard to get into through the blood stream due to the blood-brain barrier. Therefore even neurotransmitters will struggle to get through without the help of drugs. However, somehow MRT- Music has shown effects on the slow spontaneous oscillations (SSO) of cerebral blood flow. This means that just by the affects of the musical therapy itself, the cranial autonomous activity adjusts itself to bring the brain into a balanced state. Sympathetic and parasympathetic firings are regulated to keep stress-levels and headaches under control.
With the physical power of music, it is no wonder why so much research has been done to test its capacity. Many studies have tested music as a motivational factor. When moving around or doing an activity with music in the background, most people will unknowingly start moving to the rhythm. If the music is kept at a fast pace, it can help motivate an individual to keep working at the same tempo (Sariscsany, 1991). This way they may find themselves moving at a faster pace than normal, just to keep up with the music.
The purpose of this study was to find whether music could significantly affect an individual’s physical performance, in this case running a mile. Music was hypothesized to have a positive affect on runner’s ability, allowing them to decrease their time.