Music demonstrates its beneficial effects once again – Scotsman comment

Most people have an idea of the power of music. It can create a feeling of exhilaration, move us to tears or cheer us up when we feel sad.

Music can help runners perform better when mentally fatigued, a new study has found (Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images)
Music can help runners perform better when mentally fatigued, a new study has found (Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images)

But its effects may be even more profound than we realise.

Last week brought the news that listening to Mozart's Sonata For Two Pianos K448 may reduce electrical brain waves that can lead to epileptic seizures.

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And now research by Edinburgh University suggests that tunes we enjoy can help improve running performance when mentally fatigued.

The runners in the study chose their own music, including the appropriately named Run This Town by Jay-Z, Power by Kanye West, and Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger.

One of the academics involved, Dr Shaun Phillips stressed that mental fatigue “can negatively impact many of our day-to-day activities, including exercise”.

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"The findings indicate that listening to self-selected motivational music may be a useful strategy to help active people improve their endurance running capacity and performance when mentally fatigued. This positive impact of self-selected music could help people to better maintain the quality and beneficial impact of their exercise sessions,” he said.

Some may think this is telling us something that, to an extent, we already know, given runners without headphones are probably a rarer sight than those with them. Music and running go well together.

However, there is a difference between an intuitive understanding and scientific knowledge. Furthermore, providing hard evidence for music’s beneficial effects can help us realise just how valuable it is and avoid taking it for granted or, heaven forbid, even dismissing its importance altogether.

The bottom line is pretty simple: music is good for us.

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