The commercial gym industry ready took off when there was an introduction of Aerobics classes that were designed particularly for women in mind and revolved around music. A lot of people also use Walkmans when exercising…but when I talk about rhythm in exercising in this case I mean developing a fluid patterned approach to the movement that you’re performing.
Using music does help in the development of rhythm in movement but it also can be counterproductive. It also can be dangerous as if you use a Walkman when you are biking or running it takes you away from concentrating on what you are doing – as there have been numerous deaths caused by the lack of concentration when using such devices. Obviously there is far more safety in using music in confined spaces such as in a gym and it can help with developing a positive mood but it still may be counterproductive…
When taking clients through certain exercises that they are having problems with balance when performing, I tell them to develop a rhythm in movement to overcome this. Here they have to concentrate in coordinating the movement of their limbs with their breathing and with any sound that they are making in moving, so having music in the background will not help them. The concentration needed in the listening needs a quiet environment.
If people are having problems with repetitive strain injuries in running, they also need to listen to the sound of their feet striking the ground so listening to music will also not help them. (If you enjoy listening to music in exercising the selection of music is very important if you want to have a more effective environment to exercise within.) I recently wrote about the power of sound in a Health Post but the power of sound can come from within. By this I mean being in tune with your body…or being present when exercising…so external sounds will not help as they take you away from the present moment.
This is a most difficult concept to explain in mere words as you need to experience it using all your senses when moving to gain full understanding of it. I have explained it before using the term of ‘being in the zone’…but I find this term completely inadequate. If you watch animals moving or high performing athletes – who have a smooth fluidity of movement you may gain a better understanding. This ‘state of being’ in movement is within us all, but it does not just come from repetitive practice – because if you repeat faulty movement the result of more faulty is all you’ll get! Of course another group of people you can watch to gain some understanding are high performing dancers, who place themselves completely within the music so their bodies are ‘in sync’ with what they hear …but that is another story…
Being present and putting your complete concentration into what you are doing by shutting out all ‘mind chatter’ will result in rapid improvements. So just do and don’t think.
This is the key to the pure enjoyment of exercise/movement and this is the case in anything else you want to achieve in life.