This Is Why I Run


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This Is Why I Run

 

Running is universal. It’s our instinct to run – some would even say we were born to run. While it can be the road to salvation for some and the scourge of existence for others, running changes lives and everyone can do it – there’s no right or wrong way. This simple activity with primitive roots has the highest participation of any sport in the world, and it continues to grow at a rapid pace. From local 5ks to marathons, obstacle races, and ultramarathons through the mountains, running events are on the rise globally.

 

So what motivates us to wake up at 5 a.m., lace up our shoes, and pound the pavement? Why do we disappear into the mountains for 50 miles at a time? Do we thrive on the physical pain, or are we relying on the therapy it provides? To those who live to run and run to live, it means all of these things and more. We all start running for different reasons, but we keep running for the same reason. It gives us a feeling that nothing else can – especially when we add music to the experience.

 

 

At Jaybird, music and running are in our blood. We support athletes from all walks of life in chasing their running dreams around the world, and we provide them the best earbuds we can so they can go harder and further, motivated by the power of their favorite songs. Some run for pride, some for the competition, some for physical fitness, and others to overcome their past.

 

 

Our athletes’ unique backgrounds have motivated and inspired us on so many different levels, and we know that hearing their stories will inspire you as well. We’ve created a video series called This is Why I Run, featuring nine different Jaybird athletes, to share their life-changing stories, hoping that many of you will connect with their heartache, passion, and motivations. This has been a labor of love for all of us, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

 

We also want to hear your stories. Share your motivation for running in a short story and hashtag #whyirunjaybird on Instagram for a chance to win weekly prizes including earbuds and a chance to be featured on our social channels. We’re inspired by every type of runner, so don’t hesitate to share your passion with us. To the parent that wakes up early before sending their kids off to school, the beginner seeking to finish their first 5k, and the marathoner looking to set a new PR, your passion inspires more people than you’ll ever know. Share your stories with us and #runwild.

 

Top 5 Summer Activities to do with Music


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Top 5 Summer Activities to do with Music

My name is Jeff Rizzo and I like to make videos online. My life 100% revolves around having fun, whether that’s working out, playing sports, and/or just bothering everyone in the office. I live in Sacramento, CA and run a small business called RIZKNOWS, which is a media company that produces content about consumer products. We have a website, mobile app, and a few decently popular social channels (200k+ subscribers).

 

 

Summer is my favorite time of the year…I like it even more than Christmastime! In Sacramento it gets blisteringly hot in the summer, regularly reaching 100° F for several days in a row. A lot of people don’t like this, but I’m all about it. I like feeling the sun on my back. I love the lake and water sports. I love dripping sweat all over the place. It’s fun. And with that, here are my favorite summer activities that I won’t do without my Jaybird X3s.

 

 

“I love dripping sweat all over the place.”

 

 

CYCLING

I have a fairly average road bike, but I love taking it out on Fridays (into the office) or Sundays. Sacramento has some of the best bike trails in the world. We have around 30 miles of nearly unbroken bike trails that follow a beautiful river down from the foothills to the city. It really is a special ride. Sometimes I can coax my buddies into a bike ride, but most of the time it’s just me, shirt off, blazing trail. I like to listen to country, classic rock, and hip-hop, mostly because the music helps distract me and can help with the rhythm of cycling. I also binge listen to podcasts, but those are primarily political in nature or Barstool Sports, so I’ll spare you the details.

 

 

RUNNING

I used to run a lot more, but I’m trying to get these dang shin splints under control, so I’m out-of-shape by my standards. Still, I love to run in the summer, regardless of the time of day. I typically run in my neighborhood, but I honestly I prefer trail running. Auburn, which is just a short drive away, has world-class, gorgeous trails which are a lot more relaxing than the streets of Sacramento. And I don’t just like proper running, I like to switch things up and run perhaps 100 meters then sprint 25 meters and so on. Of course, that would be a much shorter run, but I get bored quickly, so I have to invent new workouts. It’s all about sweating profusely, so I don’t really care how I get there as long as I feel great afterwards.

 

 

“I get bored quickly, so I have to invent new workouts.”

 

 

WEIGHT TRAINING

I belong to two gyms, and I have a home gym, but in the summer time I find myself bringing the weights outside more than anything. It’s so nice to workout outside, and I can’t deny that I also love the weird looks from my neighbors. Actually, I just moved and my outdoor workouts have enabled me to meet more of my neighbors. It’s pretty neat. They want to workout; they want the nasty hand blisters; and they also want to be around my beautiful Cal Bears flag. Bottom line: heavy weights are fun.
 

 
YARD WORK

There’s something oddly addicting about projects at home, and I regularly listen to music on my X3s as I work. It relaxes me and also makes my many power tools just a little quieter (not for my neighbors though!). I like to start really early in the morning. Whether it’s fixing gutters, installing ceiling fans, or planting a new tree, I just really like making home improvements, and I love yard work. I typically mess things up four times and get it right on the fifth; I’m actually surprised that I haven’t been electrocuted yet. And I know what you’re thinking: “what an all American man! He bikes, runs, weight trains, and even hits the TV until it starts working again!”. I also own Carhartt overalls, so think about that.

 

RELAX

I hardly ever relax, but I occasionally—particular in the summer—like to get up early, listen to music and just sit outside. It’s a great way to start the day. I’ll usually throw on some Jack Johnson and sip my decaf coffee. Here’s my playlist of the week:

 

Jaybird and Runkeeper Team Up to Offer the Ultimate Listening Experience for Runners


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Jaybird and Runkeeper Team Up to Offer the Ultimate Listening Experience for Runners

If you’re a runner, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with Runkeeper. This mobile app helps you track workouts, set goals, follow a running plan, stay motivated, and see your progress in an easy-to-use interface. It is one of the most popular personal fitness programs out there, and today, we have announced a collaboration  to help bring music to where you run.

 

For many runners, you wouldn’t even think about hitting the road or trails without bringing your favorite music with you. Running is all about finding your rhythm and settling into a groove, and for many, listening to music is key. Music helps keep your mind off achy joints, shortness of breath and overall fatigue.

 

Even Runkeeper realizes that music and running go hand in hand. In fact, over the last 90 days, more than 65 percent of Runkeeper users listened to music while tracking their activity!

 

The Collaboration

Runkeeper and Jaybird are committed to providing a custom running and listening experience to help take each of your future workouts to the next level. Whether training for a marathon, your first 5K, or just getting in shape, our collective goal is to help power your run.

 

Jaybird is offering several opportunities to Runkeeper users, including the Jaybird X3 Challenge, which more than 125,000 Runkeeper users have already stepped up to complete. Now through June 12, users can join the X3 Challenge and track five activities within the app. Those who complete the challenge receive $20 off the Jaybird X3 Wireless Headphones.

Jaybird and Runkeeper are also collaborating on regular Music Monday content and shakeout runs in locations across the U.S. throughout 2017.  

Download the Runkeeper app and start pairing your runs with your favorite set of Jaybird earbuds.

 

Once you put a few runs under your belt, let us know in the comments what new challenges you’d like to see added that combine your love of running with the power of music. We’d also love to know what songs get you going on your runs!

 

 

 

Playlist of the Week by Samantha Katz


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Playlist of the Week by Samantha Katz


 

My body jolts to life as my alarm clock blares on the nightstand beside me. I slowly open one eye, then the other, and peer at the glowing red light. The clock reads 4:00am. Doesn’t it feel like your alarm always goes off just seconds after you finally fall asleep?

 

Most people hate Mondays. They coin phrases like “Monday Blues,” and “Case of the Mondays.” I, on the other hand, love Mondays. To me, Mondays represent a brand new week; A fresh start and an opportunity to leave all of last week’s woes and stresses behind me. Mondays also follow Sundays, which are days for recovery and relaxation for me. My body is strongest on Mondays. I wake up feeling well rested, focused and ready conquer. Like Mondays, most people also hate leg days… squats and deadlifts and lunges, oh my. Like Mondays, I love leg days. I get high off of pushing my body to levels beyond what I thought was possible just days before. Today is Monday and today is leg day. I give my alarm clock a whack and jump out of bed, ready to begin my pre-workout routine.

 

My pre-workout routine always begins with a nutrient dense meal. Food for fuel.. that’s my motto. I throw some oatmeal into a pot of boiling water and watch as it absorbs every last drop. I do not fear the carb, and neither should you! I down my oatmeal like it is the first time I have eaten in weeks, guzzle a protein shake, grab my water and my X3 Bluetooth headphones and run out the door like a kid on Christmas morning. My blood is pumping and my heart is racing as I cruise to the gym, anxiously anticipating the taxing 90-minute workout that lies ahead. I can literally hear my mind giving my body a pep talk as the neurons from my brain engage the nerve endings of every one of my muscles. This may sound insane to most people but I live for this.

 

I wrap my headphones around my head and position each bud in each ear. It is the music that fuels me. The moment I hit play I enter a new dimension; a world in which only I and the bar before me exist. Sweat is dripping down my face, my neck, my chest, my arms and my legs. My whole body is shaking, unsure as to whether or not it will survive one last set. It does. It always does…

 

From 0 to 13.1: How to Finish Your First Half-Marathon


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From 0 to 13.1: How to Finish Your First Half-Marathon

Running a half-marathon is a worthy goal, and maybe it’s a goal you set for yourself at the beginning of the year.

Have you stayed true to that enthusiasm? Maybe you’ve already given up on the idea of training. After all, you’ve haven’t run a mile since high school P.E. class.

How could anyone who doesn’t run ever be ready for a half-marathon?

The thought of running 13.1 miles non-stop is intimidating even for the casual runner. If you think that attaining your goal of running a half-marathon is out of the picture because of your lack of fitness and running, think again.

You can train to run a half-marathon, no matter your current fitness level or running ability. Here’s how:

The Walk-Run Technique

When training, it can be tempting to go all-in immediately. This misconception about training is also what discourages people from starting to train.

The problem with doing too much too soon is that you’re more likely to get injured.

You’ll sabotage your training because forcing yourself to run more than you can handle can make you hate running.

Even if you’ve never run a mile, there are many half-marathon training programs available that promise to get you ready from 8 weeks to 20 weeks.

The key is to go at your own speed and gradually progress. We repeat, go at your own speed.

A common denominator for most of the half-marathon training programs is the blending of walking and running. Walking a few minutes followed by running a few minutes back to running for an hour is a great way to get started on your half-marathon training. The time, speed and frequency of the walking and running will vary depending on your training plan, your fitness level, and how far away your half-marathon is.

The further into your training, the longer the running intervals will become. A walking-running technique eases you into training, makes it doable and more enjoyable, and lowers your risk of injury.

Utilize Cross-Training

How can activities like swimming, cycling and yoga help you in your half-marathon training? You may think that training for a half-marathon means putting the miles on your feet. It’s true that when you run and walk, you exercise and strengthen important muscles in your legs that are necessary to finish a half-marathon.

The repeated wear on the joints in your legs, however, can cause them to weaken and be more prone to injury, which will ultimately sideline your training.

This is where cross-training comes in.

When you do a different form of exercise, you’re strengthening other muscles that can help relieve the stress on your leg muscles and joints.

Cross training also gives your body a much-needed curveball by doing an activity that is not routine. Regularly throwing your body surprises helps you overcome the infamous “plateau” of training where you’re no longer progressing.

Tune-In to Your Body

Throughout your training, especially in the beginning, it is important to listen to your body. Pain and discomfort are signs that you’re pushing your body too hard and you’re not allowing your body to properly recover.

Finishing a half-marathon is doable even if running isn’t currently a part of your fitness routine.

Your half-marathon training can be more enjoyable with good workout music. At Jaybird, our wireless buds offer superior quality sound which will make your training go faster.

 

For more information about our earbuds, contact us at Jaybird today.  

 

Running to the Rhythm of Your Own Drum (or Playlist)


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Running to the Rhythm of Your Own Drum (or Playlist)

For a lot of people, there is an inherent rhythm in running. When they “get into the groove” it feels like they could just keep going from one end of the city to the other. Their breathing and their cadence are in complete control, and they thrive on pushing themselves a little faster or a little further each run.
For many other people, though, it’s never quite that simple. It can be hard to remain fully focused for an entire run, and when the stress on the knees, ankles, and lungs starts to build, it only gets more difficult.
A lot of runners turn to music to help them find that “groove.” (Yes, that was a cheesy pun just there, but it couldn’t be helped.) The constant rhythm of a favorite song can help people focus on the run, keep a steady pace, and get past the fatigue they might otherwise feel.
It’s not as simple as putting in the earbuds and randomly playing any old song from your collection, though.
No, to really add rhythm to your run, you’re going to have to be a little more selective.

Getting in Sync

The key to augmenting your run with music is synchronization. The rhythm of the music and the rhythm of your stride should be tied closely together.
In other words, you don’t really want to start your run with the fastest, hardest-pounding music on your playlist. Instead, go for something with more of a mid-range tempo so you can start off easy and build to a faster pace.
Then, when you reach that point in the run where you really start to struggle, you can switch to the faster songs on your playlist. Maybe some techno. Maybe some dance music. Maybe hard rock. Whatever really gets your energy going.
Finally, as you start to reach the end of your run, switch back to something a little slower. You can even take advantage of some nice, relaxing tunes to help wind down and get ready for recovery.

What is a Good Cadence?

Your cadence (the number of steps you take in a minute) has a huge impact on how you run and how you feel when you run. Speeding up your cadence, for example, can have an effect on how your muscles and joints perform.
The general belief is that a 170 to 180 steps per minute is a pretty good cadence, and music can make it easier to change your cadence up or down, based on your personal goals until you reach that level. Eventually, those small changes can become part of your natural movement.

Listen to Your Body’s Rhythms

Everyone approaches running and exercise a little differently, and the music that works for one person may not fit on the playlist for someone else.
Pay attention to how you run. At what point do you start to face those mental blocks that tell you to give up and be done. At what point do you start winding down?
You’re the best person to know when and where you run out of energy or start to get distracted, disinterested, or discouraged, and you can plan your playlist accordingly. These are the times when you can switch to songs with a higher BPM to motivate yourself to go further.

Rhythm and Pace Can Make a Better Run

Running experts say that by staying aware of your pace, you will get more endurance benefits and be able to stay out longer and push yourself to the end of your run.
Whether you’re a causal runner or trying to up your game and take on a new distance run, pacing can really be important. Start too fast, and you’ll wear out. End the run with too much energy left over, and you won’t feel satisfied.
The right music can help you keep the rhythm of your run, so you can ease in at the beginning, really step it up mid run, and finally wind down near the end (but still pushing yourself to use up everything you’ve got).
This is especially important in those longer runs where it’s easy to zone out and lose track of how you’re doing. A runner might suddenly realize that they could have been going at a faster pace for that last five minutes, or that they’ve burned themselves out by going too fast, too soon.
Music is a great aid to keeping a steady pace. Find the right songs with the right beats per minute for each part of your run and soon you may start to improve endurance, sharpen your focus, and get more out of each run.

How to Build Running Endurance


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How to Build Running Endurance

Build Running Endurance

Building up your endurance so you can push yourself a little further or a little faster is a common goal among runners. There are some effective ways to reach these higher levels of stamina, and many of them go far beyond the standard “just keep running a little further every day” idea.
The thing is, like many exercises, it’s important to working on increasing your running endurance while minimizing the risk of injuries. If you end up running too far or too fast before your body is ready for it, you could end up doing more harm than good.
So, what’s the trick? How can you strike this balance of pushing yourself without harming yourself?
Try to incorporate some of these suggestions and see how they affect your run.

Never Forget Strength Training

Strength training is a major component of the endurance equation, even though many runners focus strictly on cardio. A cardio-only workout may not be able to get you to the levels you’d like to reach, and may even lead to chronic aches and pains throughout the body.
There have even been some studies that show how strength and endurance training have a beneficial effect on the running economy. Most notably, the increased leg muscles help absorb the impact of your stride, and with more strength you can propel yourself further with every step.
On top of that, the right strength training can help improve oxygen uptake, increase coordination, and help you run more efficiently.
What kind of strength training will help your run? Generally speaking, anything involves compound movements – exercises that activate more than one joint. This could be anything from squats and lunges to pushups and deadlifts.
Just 10 minutes of strength training after every run can make a huge difference. This is a key factor for increased endurance right here. Do your strength training right after your run. Not before, and not on alternate days. If you work out before the run, you might use up all the glycogen stores in your muscles, making it harder to complete your run. If you alternate strength training and cardio days, you may end up building muscle rather than endurance.

Be Consistent…

Consistency is the foundation of running endurance. And it’s not just about running every day, but always pushing yourself a little further.
And when we say a little further, we mean it. A gradual increase in mileage will help your body adapt and increase its stamina. However, you need to make sure you’re doing enough of the strength training mentioned above to handle even these gradual increases in distance.
It’s okay to take some time between distance increases. You don’t want to force yourself to do something you’re not ready for, but you do want to keep at it until you can reach your next milestone.

… But Not Routine

A routine can be the enemy of endurance. If you keep doing the exact same thing every day, your body is going to adapt and become comfortable at that level.
Switching up your workouts, especially the strength training aspects, will prevent your body from plateauing. Move your muscles in different ways. It’s more motivating, more invigorating, and more efficient.

Find Your Rhythm

Do you ever feel your energy increase when you’re listening to your favorite music? There’s a reason for that. We know that music helps improve a runner’s cadence and builds positive associations with working out, but now we even have some studies that suggest that certain types of music can increase exercise endurance by 15%.
There’s just something about putting in the earbuds and blocking out the distractions that makes it easier for many runners to find those hidden reserves of energy and get a little more out of every run.

The Best Uphill Battle Ever

There’s nothing quite like a big hill for building running endurance. Sure, it looks a little daunting. Yes, running uphill goes against most of our natural inclinations. (“Inclinations.” Get it? These are the jokes, friends.) But it really is a great way to develop the muscles you need for better endurance.
Begin by walking up the hill. Then, as you feel your calf muscles start to compensate and grow stronger, you can switch to jogging the hill. Eventually, you’ll be running up this supposedly insurmountable hill with stronger lungs and legs and feeling great when you reach the top.
(Go ahead, hum the Rocky theme song and pump your fists in the air. Trust me, you’ll want to.)

The Running Endurance Equation

Like most equations, this one needs to be balanced. Too much weight on one side could throw everything else out of order. When you want to start increasing your endurance, make sure you’re getting enough cardio, strength training, variety, and rhythm to gradually and safely take your next run a little longer and a little faster.

Scientific Reasons to Listen to Music When You Work Out


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Scientific Reasons to Listen to Music When You Work Out

How Music Affects Your Brain

We’ve all experienced it. We’re just sitting there, minding our own business, and then that one song comes over the speakers and suddenly our heads start bobbing along in time with the music. Our feet start tapping to the beat, and we know we’ll be humming the words the rest of the day.
Music has an amazing ability to sneak into our minds and begin playing around with the wiring there. Without even trying, it can improve our moods, increase our energy, and get us motivated to do more.
It turns out, though, that there’s more to it than just a catchy tune.
There is a lot of evidence that connects music to brain health and function. In fact, a lot of the most recent studies are suggesting that:

Music Can Be a Real Rush

Scientists have observed that certain parts of the brain produce physical reactions to your favorite music. One group of scientists carried out an experiment in which they examined the amount of dopamine that was released when the subjects heard music they deemed pleasurable. (Dopamine being the stuff that the brain releases in response to pleasure-related stimuli and is involved with different functions, including movement, motivation, and reward.)
The study showed that at a certain point in the music, when the listeners were experiencing the most pleasure, a part of the brain called the ventral striatum released dopamine. However, about 10 to 15 seconds before that moment, a different part of the brain, called the dorsal striatum, also released some dopamine.
In other words, even the anticipation of the best parts of our favorite music can give us a real, physiological rush.

Music Can Improve Your Mood

When that dopamine is released, it immediately helps improve our moods.
Surprisingly, some studies even found that it wasn’t just upbeat music that could do this. They suggested that even sad music could help when you’re feeling down.
Now, this is a bit of a tricky one to talk about, because other studies warn that sad music can cause negative feelings or serious grief.
In this case, however, the authors of the study suggested that sad music provided a substitute for a lost relationship. It became a stand-in for an empathetic friend who understand what you’re going through.
And sometimes, the feeling that someone else – anyone else – understands you is enough to make you feel better.
But let’s go back to more positive, upbeat music. This is where you’re more likely to get that shot of dopamine that can immediately improve your mood.

Music Can Make You More Productive

It turns out that music can also affect workplace performance.
Now, to be clear about, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support both sides of this argument. One says that music is beneficial while the other says it can be too distracting.
However, in one study involving IT specialists, it appeared that those who listened to music while they worked were able to complete their tasks more quickly and even came up with better ideas throughout the process.
Why? The simple answer is because they were in a better mood.
You should never discount the power of a positive mood.
When you’re stressed, you tend to make hasty decisions and your focus becomes very narrow. When you’re in a better mood, your perspective opens a little bit and you can see a wider range of options.

Music Has Health Benefits

So far, we’ve talked about the psychological and neurological benefits of music. What about the rest of your body? Are there any physiological benefits connected to music?
In one study, researchers looked at patients who were about to undergo surgery. Half of the patients were assigned to listen to music before the surgery while the others took anti-anxiety drugs. Right before the surgery, they examined the patients’ levels of cortisol (the stress hormone).
The results showed that the music listeners went into the surgery with much less anxiety and lower cortisol levels than those who took the drugs.
So, while this was just one study, it does hint that there may be some medicinal value to music.

Two Things to Remember When Choosing Brain Music

1. Age is NOT an Issue

Most of these studies have shown that age is not much of a factor when it comes to the brain boosting effects of music. There are benefits that can be felt at all ages, from the very young to the very ol… very experienced in years.

2. Personal Choice IS

One common thread in these studies was that participants could choose their own music. This is important because, over the years, our brains literally become wired to appreciate certain types of music.
As we’re exposed to different genres of music over a lifetime, a part of the brain, called the superior temporal gyrus, starts to store certain musical templates. This makes it so you tend to appreciate the nuances of similar music in the future.
So, pick the music that means the most to you and discover what kind of impact it can have on your mind, mood, and health.

How Music Affects Your Brain


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How Music Affects Your Brain

How Music Affects Your Brain

We’ve all experienced it. We’re just sitting there, minding our own business, and then that one song comes over the speakers and suddenly our heads start bobbing along in time with the music. Our feet start tapping to the beat, and we know we’ll be humming the words the rest of the day.

Music has an amazing ability to sneak into our minds and begin playing around with the wiring there. Without even trying, it can improve our moods, increase our energy, and get us motivated to do more.

It turns out, though, that there’s more to it than just a catchy tune.

There is a lot of evidence that connects music to brain health and function. In fact, a lot of the most recent studies are suggesting that:

Music Can Be a Real Rush

Scientists have observed that certain parts of the brain produce physical reactions to your favorite music. One group of scientists carried out an experiment in which they examined the amount of dopamine that was released when the subjects heard music they deemed pleasurable. (Dopamine being the stuff that the brain releases in response to pleasure-related stimuli and is involved with different functions, including movement, motivation, and reward.)

The study showed that at a certain point in the music, when the listeners were experiencing the most pleasure, a part of the brain called the ventral striatum released dopamine. However, about 10 to 15 seconds before that moment, a different part of the brain, called the dorsal striatum, also released some dopamine.

In other words, even the anticipation of the best parts of our favorite music can give us a real, physiological rush.

Music Can Improve Your Mood

When that dopamine is released, it immediately helps improve our moods.

Surprisingly, some studies even found that it wasn’t just upbeat music that could do this. They suggested that even sad music could help when you’re feeling down.

Now, this is a bit of a tricky one to talk about, because other studies warn that sad music can cause negative feelings or serious grief.

In this case, however, the authors of the study suggested that sad music provided a substitute for a lost relationship. It became a stand-in for an empathetic friend who understand what you’re going through.

And sometimes, the feeling that someone else – anyone else – understands you is enough to make you feel better.

But let’s go back to more positive, upbeat music. This is where you’re more likely to get that shot of dopamine that can immediately improve your mood.

Music Can Make You More Productive

It turns out that music can also affect workplace performance.

Now, to be clear about, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support both sides of this argument. One says that music is beneficial while the other says it can be too distracting.

However, in one study involving IT specialists, it appeared that those who listened to music while they worked were able to complete their tasks more quickly and even came up with better ideas throughout the process.

Why? The simple answer is because they were in a better mood.

You should never discount the power of a positive mood.

When you’re stressed, you tend to make hasty decisions and your focus becomes very narrow. When you’re in a better mood, your perspective opens a little bit and you can see a wider range of options.

Music Has Health Benefits

So far, we’ve talked about the psychological and neurological benefits of music. What about the rest of your body? Are there any physiological benefits connected to music?

In one study, researchers looked at patients who were about to undergo surgery. Half of the patients were assigned to listen to music before the surgery while the others took anti-anxiety drugs. Right before the surgery, they examined the patients’ levels of cortisol (the stress hormone).

The results showed that the music listeners went into the surgery with much less anxiety and lower cortisol levels than those who took the drugs.

So, while this was just one study, it does hint that there may be some medicinal value to music.

Two Things to Remember When Choosing Brain Music

  1. Age is NOT an Issue

Most of these studies have shown that age is not much of a factor when it comes to the brain boosting effects of music. There are benefits that can be felt at all ages, from the very young to the very ol… very experienced in years.

  1. Personal Choice IS

One common thread in these studies was that participants could choose their own music. This is important because, over the years, our brains literally become wired to appreciate certain types of music.

As we’re exposed to different genres of music over a lifetime, a part of the brain, called the superior temporal gyrus, starts to store certain musical templates. This makes it so you tend to appreciate the nuances of similar music in the future.

So, pick the music that means the most to you and discover what kind of impact it can have on your mind, mood, and health.

Workout Motivation Hacks for Anyone


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Workout Motivation Hacks for Anyone

A lot of us really want to work out more. Then again, a lot of us would be happy if we could start working out at all.

Motivation is tough. We know that working out will be good for us. We know that it will make us healthier and give us more energy, but it’s just so easy to “let it slide” one more day. (And then “one more day” turns into “one more week” and so on.)

Workouts are hard. They’re supposed to be. And that means that any speedbumps along the way can quickly derail our motivation.

There are a lot of things that can hold you back (including yourself), but a few simple workout motivation hacks can keep you right on track.

  1. Use Positive Thinking AND Positive Feeling

We often hear the words “positive thinking” associated with any discussion of motivation, but the truth is that simply knowing that workouts are good for you and knowing that you want to be more active isn’t enough to get motivated.

Motivation is fueled by your feelings and emotions.

There was a great article in TIME Magazine that talked about this, and it can be summarized in one quote: “We need to think to plan but we need to feel to act.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can just decide to feel positive about your workout. There are too many outside factors that can impact how we’re feeling at any given time, and if we’ve got too much on our plate, putting us in a bad mood, we’re far more likely to procrastinate the next workout.

But we all have some things that put us in a better mood and let us block out all the negativity. And this motivational hack requires us to hang on tightly to those things.

We all have a much better chance of avoiding procrastination by planning ahead (positive thinking) and finding ways to improve your mood (positive feeling).

And what do you get when positive feeling and thinking come together?

Optimism.

And optimism is the foundation of motivation. Optimism is confidence that you will succeed because you’ve planned for it and you feel the results will be worth it.

  1. Visualize Your Obstacles

Everyone faces different challenges, so, no matter how much we talk about positive thinking and planning, it’s important to remember that no plan turns out exactly like we imagined.

Sometimes, it just feels like something always – always – gets in our way.

If it happens once, it’s probably not a big deal. Twice… now you might start to feel your motivation slip. Three times, and most of us can assume we’ll be paying for a gym membership that won’t get used until next January.

The answer is to visualize your obstacles right along with your goals. Imagine all the things that could get in your way. Then, imagine how you will ignore/overcome/defeat each and every one of them. Then, when they happen, you’ll know exactly what to do.

  1. Reward Yourself for Real

It’s easy to say that better health, more energy, and a better outlook on life are your rewards for sticking to a workout routine.

But for a lot of us, that is a little too intangible and way too far in the future.

A “real” reward is more tangible and more immediate.

Go to that movie, enjoy that amazing (and healthy) smoothie, buy that special thing you’ve been saving for. Give yourself something nice because you deserve it for this accomplishment.

Eventually, as our minds and bodies adjust to the workout routine, you’ll start to be more motivated by internal rewards – those endorphins that release when you complete a workout or push yourself to the next level. That’s the point when the workout itself becomes the reward.

Until then, it’s the external rewards that will increase your motivation levels.

  1. Healthy Competition

Sometimes, one of the most effective forms of motivation is a little friendly peer pressure.

Yes, you’ve been told how bad peer pressure is, but you’re a little older now. You know how to have fun and where to draw the line.

So, use this competitive spirit to stay motivated. There are a couple benefits to this strategy.

One, you’ll be trying to accomplish your workout goals with others – which always makes it easier to stay motivated.

Two, the thought of the other people working out while you’re still curled up in bed is often enough to get you up and moving.

A little give and take, keeping things a little competitive, may be all you need to stick with your routine.

  1. Use the Right Soundtrack

We’ve talked about the importance of using the right music to improve your run, but the same can be said for almost any kind of workout.

The right music at the right tempo can improve your overall enjoyment of the workout, reduce exertion levels, and make the time pass more quickly. That means your workout will be something you look forward to instead of something you’re forcing yourself to do.

  1. Put Something on the Line

What will really happen if you don’t stick with your routine? For most people, the answer is “not much.” You’ll have to admit to your friends that you gave up, but beyond that, there isn’t much of a penalty.

On the other hand, if you give a friend $100 and tell them they can keep it if you don’t go to the gym at least 3 times a week, now you actually have something to lose.

When you have something very tangible to lose, you’ll be more motivated to see it through to the end.

Getting motivated to workout isn’t always easy, but it is always possible. You just need a good plan and a little optimism, and soon you’ll be maintaining your ideal workout program.