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Don't skip the beat

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According to the American Council on Exercise, music gives you a positive distraction from the pain of working out

Monday, August 27, 2007

Imagine Sylvester Stallone, running the streets of Philadelphia, training like the heavyweight boxer he portrayed in "Rocky," to the tune of "Gonna Fly Now."
Picture a montage of him throwing punches and sprinting up museum stairs to the beat of "Eye of the Tiger."
Now . . . imagine it without music.
Yeah, it's not the same.
"Working out without music is like a sin," said Joseph Palazzolo, a member of Dolphin Fitness in Grasmere. "I can't imagine going to a quiet gym -- it just gives me that edge to push myself to the limit."

The 21-year-old Arrochar fitness fanatic listens to a variety of music on his iPod as he works out. But to go that extra workout mile, Palazzolo, a die-hard Rocky Balboa fan, chooses "Going the Distance" from the fight-film's soundtrack as his all-time favorite.
"Honestly, I can listen to that song for the entire time (at the gym)," he said. "It keeps me zoned in and focused--without music I would get bored."


When it comes down to the way you look, your body's appearance is a result of your diet.
But great music can lead to a great workout. "Music is what keeps the members pumping iron or pedaling the (exercise) bikes," said Antonella Schinina, office manager at Synergy gym, a 24-hour fitness center in Port Richmond. "We play a wide variety of stuff, trying to fit everyone's liking."

Schinina said that the general crowd is pleased with "a lot of house music, with a mix of hip-hop every now and then," but each employee changes it up a bit.
"When I get to work in the morning, I usually throw on some Frank Sinatra for the older scene," she said. "And come midday, a lot of people want to hear heavy metal. But then we get some people complain that it is 'too much.'"

Anyone who doesn't like the music their gym plays, or has had their iPod battery die mid workout can relate to this: Working out to the sound of yourself grunting, or even the sound of the elliptical machine whirring back and forth is just not the same.

"They play 106.7 (Lite FM) at my gym and I hate it more than anything -- how am I supposed to listen to that slow stuff?" said an anonymous gym-goer from Great Kills, who didn't want his identity revealed so his gym wouldn't hold a grudge against him. "What I want to hear when I workout is the tuff, rugged music, that will make me want to get up and play a sport and be a wild man."


A 2002 study at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia showed that people listening to music while riding an exercise bike rode 11 percent farther than those who listened to radio static or nothing at all. Other studies have shown a workout improvement of 20 percent or more when tunes are added to exercise. Not only that, research has shown that if you exercise with music, you'll feel less pain and fatigue, and you'll actually boost your verbal and cognitive skills.
"Music gives you a positive distraction from the pain of working out," said Cedric Bryant, an exercise physiologist and chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit fitness certification and education group. "If you're working out without music, you focus on the strain of lifting, and begin to breathe deeply."
Bryant added that "music can enhance your mood -- it can bring you up to a positive state of mind, and it keeps you with a rhythm."

"When people hear something that pumps them up, there is not doubt that it'll help them better their workout," said Oscar Plonka, trainer and New York State licensed message therapist at Dolphin. "I encourage my clients to use their iPods, it helps them focus in and not be distracted by their surroundings."

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