Men working out in group, drawing by Bonnie PruddenWHETHER YOU ARE  working out with a group, one on one, or by yourself, music is a valuable and powerful tool.

Although all music is beneficial, I’m talking here about music that tells you what to do, not about background music which seems to have neither a here nor a there.

Studies show that you work out harder and longer when the movements are done to music. At the same time both the music and the workout release “feel good” endorphins that elevate your mood and others that improve  your immune system.

Two women exercising, drawing by Bonnie PruddenGroup Work
When there is music, everyone (well almost everyone) hears the beat and moves with the rhythm. When everyone moves together, the group – no matter how large – becomes as one. It looks good, is powerful and it is easier to spot the few who need help. Music gives a beginning and an end to the movement. The body “gives up” its random ways and it becomes more clear and precise.

Woman exercising alone, drawing by Bonnie PruddenOne on One
Music tells you whether to march, waltz, skip, slide, gallop, hop, go on tip toe, or creep low. It tells you whether to make circles, waves, go straight or zigzag, go fast or go slow. If you are working with someone who is not getting the step or the beat, stand close and to the left of the person and put your hand over the wrist of the other person where Woman exercising in pool, drawing by Bonnie Pruddentheir pulse is. Keep close contact as you begin to move and you will find that they pick up the movement rather quickly. Bonnie learned this early on and taught it to all of her students. It works with everyone including special needs, the blind, and deaf.

Woman exercising in pool, drawing by Bonnie PruddenBy Yourself
I cannot move if there is not music and I cannot NOT move if there is music. Use a variety of music so that y our movement will change accordingly. Muscles like variety and music will create that variety. It is hard to waltz to a march and vice versa. If you have a pool this is the perfect time to use it for a musical water work-out.

We hold on to music until the very end. People in nursing homes who’ve not spoken or hardly moved will start tapping a foot or a hand when the music is turned on. They will hum or sing when they’ve given up talking.

Summary ~ Use music to:
•  Work-out harder and longer.
• 
Improve your immune system.
• 
And last but not least, lift your spirit.

They say that love makes the world go round… but I think music does too.

Books for those who love music and workouts:
•  The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature, by Daniel J. Levitin
• 
In Praise of Walking, by Shane O’Mara
• 
The Joy of Movement, by Kelly McGonigal
• 
Keep it Moving: Lessons for the Rest of your Life, by Twyla Tharp

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If you have questions or need help, email me at enid@bonnieprudden.com.

For more information about Bonnie Prudden®, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®, workshops, books, self-help tools, DVDs, educational videos, and blogs, visit www.bonnieprudden.com. Or call 520-529-3979 if you have questions or need help. Enid Whittaker, Managing Director, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®