Monday, March 26, 2007

Your Brain, Motivation, and iPod Playlists

Jeff Leow, a medical student from Austrailia, has a great post on a couple of medical studies that looked into the link between music and motivation to exercise. It includes a short description and diagram of the brain, as well as some videos to keep you entertained.

Highlights include:

* Associations that are unrelated to sport or physical activity may also prove motivating. For example, the theme to a popular television adventure series may promote the desire to engage in physical activity. Moreover, lyrics that are related to determination and strength may also conceivably enhance motivation to exercise more intensely and/or for longer.

* Positive experiences and mindsets yielded positive feelings and a subsequent desire to repeat the behaviour. (Godin, 1994) Therefore, it is important that participation in exercise sessions is a positive experience for individuals (Godin, 1994).

That last one seems kinda "duh" to me, but I think it means "if music makes exercise a positive exerpience, then listen to music when you exercise".


  1. hey.

    thanks for featuring.

    i think u made a mistake. my name is Jeffrey Leow, not meow.

  2. Oops - sorry about that. All corrected.


  3. no problem at all!

    u heard abt the six foot track marathon in australia? heard its pretty great!

    anyway, i think the running log at is e best i have come across!

  4. Fascinating. I wonder which is more motivating - the beat of the music, or the silence of nature? - Rod

  5. Dude, they don't even make those iPods anymore. How old is that picture?!?

  6. Great question, Rod. I love nature's soundtrack for the long runs. Nothing can beat it. But for those 6am runs that need some oomph, I will reach for the iPod!

    Mike - you busted me on the pic. It's from 2004, right after the Phleger Estate 50k. That mini didn't last very long - the Nano is much better.


  7. Different Rod here. The running/music relationship is interesting. When I train, I never, ever train without music. I need Perry Farrell singing to get the juices flowing! However, I never race with music. When racing, I just feel like I need to be aware of everything...... breathing, the sound my feet are making when hitting the ground, if someone is coming up in front/behind me, etc. I'm always almost surprised that I don't need/want it while racing but they are two different animals to me.
    On the other side, I've always been a HUGE music fan and training is my time to really induldge in listening to music. Unfortunately, not like the college days anymore when you can kick the day away in a dorm room listening to music, so I cherish that time on the trails. Anyway, just my two cents.
    Rod Bien

  8. Scott I need a new playlist. Can you post what you will use at Pony Express? I can't imagine you would do 50 laps without an iPOD!!!

    It was good to meet you at Napa. I hit my mark under 4 hours. Yesss!

    Lisa H

  9. Rod -

    That's interesting about racing without the tunes. I often bring my tunes, but completely forget to listen to them (both the AR50 and TRT50 I carried them the whole way). Maybe that is why...

    Perry Ferrell has two songs in my top 10! Both from Jane's Addiction - "Just Because" from Strays, and "Stop" from Ritual. Great stuff!


  10. I can't even run a mile without my tunes. Usually Dave Matthews Band and sometimes some other stuff like Greatful Dead, Ben Harper or Widespread Panic. Yup, I like to JAM when I run. Anyhow, great post.

    Good luck this weekend with your 100k. I'll be in Cali for a change (I live in Georgia) and run the Great Race of Agoura half-marathon on Saturday. Then I'll hit the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains throughout the week. I can't wait!


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