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Get Groovy: Tunes Help You Pump Up Your Exercise Routine

From the Show: Train Your Body
Summary: Research shows that listening to music can help keep you motivated in your workouts.
Air Date: 4/21/15
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: John P. Higgins MD
John HigginsJohn P. Higgins MD, MBA (Hons), MPHIL, FACC, FACP, FAHA, FACSM, FASNC, FSGC, is a sports cardiologist for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and the Harris Health System. His research interests include the effects of energy beverages on the body, and screening for underlying cardiovascular abnormalities in 12-year-olds (6th graders), and steroid effects on the cardiovascular system.
Get Groovy: Tunes Help You Pump Up Your Exercise Routine
Whether your choice is Led Zeppelin or Dolly Parton, music can really pump up your workout.

Music has the ability to get you moving. Research shows it can play an important part in keeping you motivated and energized during your workout.

John P. Higgins, MD, joins host Melanie Cole, MS, to discuss how your favorite music can help boost your workout.

Some of Melanie's favorite songs are:

Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves
Feeling Stronger Every Day by Chicago
Jump by Van Halen
Burning Down the House by The Talking Heads
Scarlette Begonias by The Grateful Dead

Some of Dr. John's favorite artists are:

Bruno Mars
Maroon 5
Iggy Azalea
Ed Sheeran
Walk the Moon

Whatever your favorites are, put 'em on, turn 'em up and get moving.


RadioMD PresentsTrain Your Body | Original Air Date: April 21, 2015
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest: John P. Higgins, MD

Train Your Body. Here’s Exercise Physiologist, Melanie Cole, M.S.

MELANIE: What do you work out to? What motivates you? If you’re outside walking and you want to look around at the trees and just walk, what music do you play? But if you want to pick up the pace and run, or jog, or you’re at the gym and you need something to get keep you going, what do you play? Well, we’re going to hear some suggestions today from our very own fan favorite, Dr. John Higgins, Sports Cardiologist at UT Health Science Center.

Dr. Higgins, what do you personally like to work out to? Because we are going to go back and forth a little here. Tell me.

JOHN: Oh yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, I kind of like…I must say, I’m like a big Top 40 person. So, I like pop music. So, for example, things like Iggy Azalea. You know, I mean, lots of kind of stuff that is just hitting the airwaves right now. So, I generally, and in particular, I do like songs that have a really thumping and strong beat kind of thing to them, Melanie. And as well as some old favorites as well. I, too, you know, when I…..

MELANIE: What are some of your old favorites, Dr. Higgins? What are you talking about?

JOHN: Oh, things like “Go West”. You know those sort of, “Go West”--things that are funny there and those sort of songs. As well as, Duran Duran. You know-- some Duran Duran to get things moving. Bruce Springsteen, those sort of things. But I must say those, I kind of, I keep certain songs for, as you were alluding to Melanie, for kind of certain things. So, for example I might have a song that is a faster tempo, when I want to be doing a little bit more of a tempo run and going faster. Whereas, if I am at 16 miles into a long run and I am kind of like just wanting something to get me there, I might have something that will, with words like something along the lines of “don’t give up”, or “stay strong”. You know? That sort of stuff.

MELANIE: Well, there are songs definitely that motivate and then, in all of my research about what songs people like, “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor came out as one of the very top.

JOHN: Oh, “Eye of the Tiger”. Yes.

MELANIE: I’m going to give you some of my list, Dr. Higgins, because I love “Eye of the Tiger”. I do. For me, “Walking on Sunshine” gets me going every time, by Katrina and the Waves. And Chicago has a song called “Feeling Stronger”. It’s a bit of an old song but even my kids get motivated because at the end, it just picks up, it changes and at the end of the song, it’s just feeling stronger every day and the tempo picks up and it’s got this momentum that is just amazing. So, by Chicago, “Feeling Stronger Every Day”.

JOHN: Awesome.

MELANIE: “Jump” by Van Halen is a great, great one.

JOHN: Oh, yeah.

MELANIE: The Cubs used that in 1984. There are some others that are more, as you say, Dr. Higgins, emotional, like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye.

JOHN: Yeah.

MELANIE: Things that might turn you into, you know, I’m feeling great, I can do anything and instead of just running, you might dance around or jump around. So, what do you think of some of those?

JOHN: Oh, yeah. Yeah. No definitely, Melanie, in fact, a lot of the studies that they’ve done, the songs that seem to be the ones that get the best results are those that the person, the studies where they let the person pick, their favorite songs--the ones that they really enjoyed, rather than assign them songs that they thought might stimulate them or energize them. So, you’re exactly right, Melanie. It’s what you like, will put you in the great mood, will motivate you to go further, to delay your fatigue and get you really into the…..[INAUDIBLE 04.07.1].

MELANIE: Sure. I mean that is the whole point of music really. You know “We are the Champions” by Queen. People always think of that. You know, they’re gonna, they’re gonna do something. You know, “We Will Rock You”. And actually they say that song actually affects your heart rate. Is there any truth to that, Dr. Higgins? Can a song actually affect your heartbeat as you are listening to it?

JOHN: Yes. There is, actually. Melanie, there have been a couple of studies on that and they’ve found that there are certain songs, again, depending on the significance of the song for that person, that can cause you to breathe faster and for your heartbeat to speed up so absolutely, Melanie. Yes.

MELANIE: Wow. That’s kind of amazing. And, then, you even hear James Brown singing “I Feel Good”. Or, I know that mine are a little bit—you’re more pop music guy and I’m more rock music person. You know?

JOHN: Yeah.

MELANIE: So, it’s whatever kind of motivates you, but there are songs that, generally, if you look up the studies, you look up the lists, these are songs that just really get everybody going. Another one that I want to mention “It’s a Beautiful Day” by U2. They’re not my favorite band but that song in particular. “It’s a Beautiful Day”. It’s great.

JOHN: Oh, actually that’s on my list for when I am getting pumped up for running, too. “Beautiful Day” is definitely, that’s an awesome one. It really, there’s something about the beat and the words that you can really relate to.

MELANIE: Well, it is. It’s a great way to get yourself going , get your music going and of course the Rocky theme we mentioned, “Eye of the Tiger” but “Going to Fly Now”. You know, Rocky, all those kinds of things. When you look at a movie and you see somebody really working out and getting really, you know, getting all pumped up and doing all of these things. So, Dr. Higgins, give us a few more of yours before we’re out of time today.

JOHN: Well, I think the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction”, that’s a good one that, that can really get you going. I also like Owl City. You know, Owl City is kind of a smaller band that they, their songs have really kind of cool words to their songs. I, generally, like most of the, like I said, most of the pop stuff that is out there. And, Melanie, you know, we talked about the fact that these are motivating. They decrease fatigue. They also arouse people. They get people ready to exercise. They improve their coordination. I mean, there have been studies that show that people can do the exercise better and trainers use this as well. You know, as we talked about, we were talking about before the fact, that using the music to a training routine can actually help people with their timing and ultimately all of these things. As long as that increases people’s activity and improves exercise adherence, that‘s what we want as healthcare professionals out there. But there are a couple of things that I just want to warn people that if, obviously, if they are out on a really busy street with lots of roads that they are going to be crossing, sometimes safety is an important thing, Melanie, that they need to consider and so that they don’t…

MELANIE: So, you don’t want the music too loud or too distracting.

JOHN: Right.

MELANIE: You know? And one of the songs, “Thunder Struck”. It’s by AC/DC. AC/DC has some pretty motivating … “Back in Black” and Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House.” Some of these are so kind of rowdy that I get what you’re saying, Dr. Higgins, because you can absolutely just be cranking them…

JOHN: Yes.

MELANIE: …and walking across the street and not even look at the fact that there’s car turning. You know? And that has happened to me, so listeners take heed to what he’s saying because it is important.

JOHN: Right. And, Melanie, one last thing, too, to say is that we have a lot of these songs that will pump you up, but sometimes you can use music to also really relax you after you’ve had a workout or you want to just get into some relaxation and meditation. And some of those slower songs, and really melodic songs like by Cold Play and some of those other bands, Enya. You know, they can really get you to relax as well and we know that not only is exercise good for the heart but also we know it is also important to be able to relax and take some time out to help your heart as well.

MELANIE: It’s great information. We’ve mentioned a lot of songs and as Dr. Higgins said sometimes you want the songs to then cool you down. You want them to help relax you. You can use them for while you are doing yoga, while you are warming down, cooling down, while you’re stretching at the end of the workout, but at the beginning of the workout you want some music to really pump you. You want to get going. Get something to really motivate you. Just be safe. Look around. Know your surroundings. Don’t just be so into your music that you don’t see that someone is waiting on the treadmill or the elliptical or there’s a car turning on the street, if you are working out outside. But music can be one of the best personal trainers out there so I just want you to hear that and know that. As a trainer for so many years, music can be your best personal trainer so try “Walking on Sunshine”. Try Chicago’s “Feeling Stronger Every Day”. See what those do for you.

You are listening to Train Your Body. Motivate and perform right here with RadioMD. This is Melanie Cole.

Thanks so much for listening and stay well.