Updated: Feb 5
If you take group fitness classes or teach them, you know how important music is. The right mix can get you hyped and keep you hyped to push through the most challenging workouts. This applies to runners too.
A recent study found that the tempo of the music you listen to while exercising can significantly affect your perception of fatigue. The study used a within-subject two-factor experimental design, with music tempo (fast music, slow music, no music) and exercise intensity (high intensity, low intensity) as independent variables. The results showed that the main effect of music tempo and the interaction effect of music tempo and exercise intensity on time to fatigue perception (TFP) were significant.
But what does this mean for you and your workouts? The study suggests that fast music (bpm between 150 and 160) can help you perform better mentally and physically during your workouts, regardless of intensity. This is because fast music can regulate emotions, distract from unpleasant physical feelings, and speed up recovery from exercise fatigue. So next time you hit the gym or run, consider adding some fast-paced tunes to your playlist. They'll help keep you motivated and energized and help you power through those tough moments and finish strong.
Click here to check out a continuous mix I produced that's set at 150 bpm. Here is one more that's a fun throwback to the 90's! And follow me there on Mixcloud!
Updated: Dec 30, 2022
If you're like me, you know how important it is to get a good night's sleep. That's why I use tools like my Apple Watch with the Sleep Cycle and Rise Science apps to track my sleep, and I even have blackout drapes and blue-light blocking glasses to help me sleep better.
But a recent study from the University of Basel in Switzerland has me rethinking my approach to blue light. In the study, 29 volunteers were exposed to different levels of blue light for an hour before bedtime. While the higher levels of light did suppress melatonin levels, the effects only lasted for a short time and the participants did not report any changes in sleep quality. It's worth noting that this study only looked at the effects of blue light for one hour before bedtime, so it's possible that longer or closer exposures could have different results.
So, what can we conclude from this? While it's still a good idea to limit screen time before bed, especially if you have trouble falling asleep, it's okay to use your phone or laptop right before bed as long as you give yourself some time to wind down first. But keep in mind that there are other factors that can affect your sleep, like your sleep drive or sleep pressure, which gradually builds throughout the day and determines how tired you feel at night. Bright light during the day and dim light at night can also impact your sleep quality, so make sure to get plenty of sunlight and keep your bedroom as dark as possible at night.
In summary, while blue light may not be as harmful as we initially thought, there are still other steps you can take to improve your sleep, like limiting screen time, getting enough sunlight, and keeping your bedroom dark. Try out different strategies and see what works best for you.
Here's to deep, cozy, and restful sleep!
Blume C, Niedernhuber M, Spitschan M, Slawik HC, Meyer MP, Bekinschtein TA, et al. Melatonin suppression does not automatically alter sleepiness, vigilance, sensory processing, or sleep. Sleep. 2022 Nov 9;45(11).
What we tend to think of as achievement might not have as strong an impact on our well-being as we thought. In fact, a study using trackyourhappiness.org, which monitors people's happiness in real-time through the use of iPhones, found that the contents of our moment-to-moment experiences may be more influential in determining our happiness.
So, if it’s not what we might view as typical achievements, what can we do to increase our happiness?
One promising finding from the study is that activities that engage the mind, like socializing and exercising, are associated with increased happiness. On the other hand, mind-wandering, or letting our minds stray from the present, has been linked to decreased happiness.
This suggests that our focus and attention may be key to finding joy.
Of course, this is just one aspect of the complex happiness puzzle. Further research is needed to fully understand the causes of happiness and how it can be improved. However, scientific methods, such as trackyourhappiness.org, have allowed us to study happiness on a large scale and gather valuable insights. As we search for ways to increase our happiness and well-being, it may be worth considering the role that our focus and attention play in our daily lives.
The Ted presentation below made me think of the few times I’ve attended shows where they locked away everyone’s smartphones. Those shows are always incredibly more fun than others because before the start of the show strangers actually interact with each other. Then once the show begins, all eyes are where they should be - on the stage.
Everyone is simply a lot more present and fully engaged.
When I compare these shows to the ones I’ve attended where people can keep their devices, I have to say that during the latter, everyone is focused on their phones, and strangers keep to themselves. The atmosphere is colder in comparison.
Now I want to share some things I think might be helpful when it comes to focusing:
Take a break from screens: Set aside specific times during the day to unplug from electronic devices and focus on the present moment. Definitely do this when spending time with friends and family as much as you can.
Work out: If you’re strength training, try to avoid looking at your phone between sets. I can’t help you when it comes to unplugging while doing cardio. During my low-intensity cardio sessions, I mainly focus on my phone or a book.
Use sensory cues: I’ll bring my attention back to the present moment by engaging my senses, like smelling a scented candle or essential oil or listening to music without vocals. Music without any vocals is really key for me.
Chores: I don’t know why, but cleaning gets me super focused.
Journal: Journaling helps me to both focus and organize my thoughts.
I recently read about an idea called the “3 things” exercise. It’s a simple but effective way to ground ourselves in our surroundings and refocus our attention on the present.
When you find your mind wandering, try bringing your attention back to the present moment by identifying
three things you can see,
three things you can touch, and
three things you can hear.
Although happiness has many facets, we can take action to enhance our well-being by being more aware and present in our daily lives!
Watch the video below.