Music influences athletes’ performances


Courtesy of Tacara Hileman

Lucy Williams, Staff Writer

Everyone has a favorite song or genre. Whether you like country, hip-hop, rap, or indie tunes, you’re bound to have a playlist that you jam out to while sitting in class or riding to school in the car. If you’re an athlete or just someone who enjoys working out, you likely listen to music, too. Did you know that music can actually directly impact your performance?

What does music do to my brain?

An informational site by Pfizer states, “Listening to (or making) music increases blood flow to brain regions that generate and control emotions. The limbic system, which is involved in processing emotions and controlling memory, ‘lights’ up when our ears perceive music.”

Research done by Johns Hopkins Medicine concluded that “…listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.”

So, how does this affect my performances as an athlete?

When an athlete works out, they often search for “hype” music, or music to excite and “arouse” them. Such up-beat tunes usually draw a linear connection to improved performance, but why?

The University of Wisconsin states, “Music can alter the neurochemistry of the body, and consequentially, its physiological state. Neurochemistry refers to various neurotransmitters that change the body’s internal
environment and impact the functioning of different systems (ex. cardiovascular, nervous, respiratory system, etc.). Physical and mental states can vary depending on the neurotransmitters produced, leaving the individual in either a controlled or uncontrolled 27 state (ex. fight or flight). Music is a positive stimulus that many people use because of its ability to balance these messengers and allows for better control of their arousal levels
or levels of stimulation.”

What’s the conclusion?

If you’re an athlete who’s looking to up your game, it might be a good idea to listen to all those tunes you love. Music could be just the component you need to reach that PR. Put those earbuds in, crank up that volume, and most importantly, get your sweat on!