Many in the health field blame a sedentary lifestyle, namely long hours spent in front of the TV or a computer screen, for the growing obesity epidemic in the U.S. However, it may surprise you to find that there are ways you can work out at home or the gym while still enjoying your favorite shows.
Let’s face it, cardio exercises, such as running on a treadmill or using an elliptical cross trainer, can feel boring and repetitive for a lot of people, making them more inclined to put anti-aging fitness on the backburner. If you work out at home and have gym equipment in your house, they serve little more function than expensive furniture for a lot of people, because of how little they’re used for anti-aging fitness.
The Power of Entertainment When You Work Out at Home
There’s a reason why many gyms have televisions set up near the cardio equipment, and you can do the same if you use cardio equipment to work out at home—try to set it up near a television or load a favorite TV show or movie onto your mobile device or tablet.
If this isn’t possible when you work out at home, then try using your imagination. Think about scenes from your favorite show or movie, or imagine that you’re running or cycling along a scenic mountain road—higher-end machines even have screens with different scenic settings to make you feel like you’re actually there.
Another idea to try when you work out at home is to place a picture showing a nature scene on the wall in front of your cardio equipment. The idea behind this anti-aging fitness trick is to take your mind off watching the clock so that you can stick to your workout and even push yourself to invest a little more effort.
There’s science to back up this anti-aging fitness secret. Whether you work out at home or at a gym, keeping yourself entertained while doing cardio lowers the perceived exertion of performing the exercise, according to a study from the University of North Carolina. Having a lowered perception of how much exertion you’re putting forth in your anti-aging fitness routine means you’re more likely to try a little harder, and less likely to be discouraged from getting through it, especially when you work out at home.
Using Music to Work Out at Home
Listening to music while you work out at home or at the gym also helps. Just make sure to choose songs that have an upbeat tempo. Why do you think aerobics and other cardio classes are set to fast music? Listening to high-energy music gets you pumped up and boosts your own energy level by getting you in the mood. It can be easy to slack off or even just put off exercise completely when you work out at home, but the right music can keep you on track. Our brains tend to associate certain songs and tempos with memories and moods, which can influence your perception of working out. For example, listening to the theme from Rocky has been shown to motivate and boost physical performance. If you work out at home, try putting the song on and turning up the volume.
You’ll notice that when you work out at home or at the gym with fast music, you’ll instinctively pick up the pace of your exercise, because you automatically start to synchronize your movements to the song’s beat. The rhythm of the music you’re listening to stimulates the motor region of your brain, which then translates into physical movement. This helps you keep moving a steady pace, which is especially important when you work at home, rather than at the gym with a trainer. Plus, a steady pace is easier on your body than fluctuating.
If you work out at home or at a gym, listening to music can essentially burn more calories and help you build more muscle. One study found that cyclists who pedaled to workout music used seven percent less oxygen and had more endurance. Cyclists who listen to faster music have been shown to work harder by pedaling faster while increasing the distance covered. It’s like having the motivation of a personal trainer when you work out at home, but without the cost.
Regardless of whether you work out at home or the gym, it’s important to match the beat of the music to your target heartbeat-per-minute (BPM), which will also depend on the type of anti-aging fitness workout you’re doing. For example, power walking is usually about 120 to 145 BPM, while running is 155 to 180. There are many web sites that can help you find the right music based on your target BPM.
You have to take into account your own personal fitness level as well; it’s important to know what your body can handle so that you don’t overexert yourself. Again, this is especially important if you work out at home where, unlike the gym, you don’t have a trainer overseeing your anti-aging fitness routine at all times.
“7 Reasons You Should Listen To Music When You Work Out,” Huffington Post web site, November 11, 2013; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/01/why-exercise-workout-music-playlist_n_4173931.html.
Boston, G., “The science of workout music,” IOL Lifestyle web site, February 26, 2014; http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/the-science-of-workout-music-1.1652728#.Uw5LKRYxdUQ.
Pasternak, H., “Tune In, Tone Up: How Watching TV Can Help Your Workout,” People web site, January 15, 2014; http://greatideas.people.com/2014/01/15/harley-pasternak-make-exercise-more-fun/.
Pease, S., “How your workout music can improve your workout,” Examiner.com, November 22, 2009; http://www.examiner.com/article/how-your-workout-music-can-improve-your-workout.
Waterhouse, J., et al., “Effects of music tempo upon submaximal cycling performance,” Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 2010; 20(4): 662-669.