top of page

Music and its impact on athlete mental well being

By Martin and Joel

During the last two decades, advancements in technology have allowed music to grow into being an effective intervention to achieve a range of desirable psychological and performance effects among athletes.The psychological effects refer to how music influences mood, affect, emotion, attitudes, cognition and behaviour.The psycho physical effects of music involve sensory responses to physiological processes. In music related research, this involves the perceptions of physical effort and is most often measured via the ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) scale.The pyscho physiological effects of music relate to the influence of music on a range of physiological factors, such as heart rate and respiration rate.Music exerts an ergogenic effect when it improves physical performance by either delaying fatigue or increasing work capacity. This often results in higher than expected levels of endurance, power, productivity, or strength.

The American swimmer Michael Phelps, who won 7 gold medals and set 5 world records at the 2007 FINA World Championships, reportedly listened to hip-hop music before his races in order to get focused and psyched up. This involved narrowing his attention to focus on rapper Lil’ Wayne’s lyrics “Yes, I’m the best, and no I ain’t positive, I’m definite I know the game like I’m reffing it”

When accompanying training and workouts with music, researchers have suggested assembling a wide selection of familiar tracks that meet the following six criteria in order to achieve benefits to performance:

  1. (a)strong, energising rhythm

  2. (b) Positive lyrics having associations with movement (e.g., “I’m gonna make you sweat” by Snoop Dogg);

  3. (c) rhythmic pattern well matched to movement of patterns of the athletic activity;

  4. (d) Uplifiting melodies and harmonies;

  5. (e)Associations with sports , exercise, triumph, or overcoming adversity (e.g.. Heather Small’s ‘Proud’, used in the London 2012 Olympic bid);

  6. (f) a musical style or idiom suited to an Athlete’s state and cultural upbringing. Choose tracks with different temps, to coincide with alternate low-, medium-, and high-intensity training.

Music Helps Regulate Our Emotions and Moods

Many athletes turn to music before their competition to help them get in “the zone.” Plugging in headphones before performing or working out can help regulate emotions and mood, because music reshapes emotional and physiological arousal, allowing it to be used as either a stimulant or as a sedative. Loud upbeat music will help an athlete get psyched up, whereas softer music can help them calm helped these athletes control their moods and create a sense of camaraderie during competition.

Music can have a serious influence on our mood by elevating positive aspects such as vigor, excitement and happiness, and reducing tension, anger and fatigue. So, next time you need to lift your mood and get in the zone to perform, or even workout, pop in those headphones and listen to music to psych you up or calm you down.

317 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page