Friday, October 18, 2013

Study shows music makes manual workers put in more effort


Listening to music makes manual workers put in more effort without realizing it, a study shows.The rhythm helps physical exertion seem less exhausting, not only for laborers but for sportsmen too. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Germany found muscles were more coordinated when there was music, so work was more effective and the worker less likely to feel exhausted. It would explain why chain gangs sang gospel songs, footballers are spurred on by fans’ chanting... and the Seven Dwarfs had a Whistle While You Work policy.

Whistle While You Work: Snow White's seven dwarfs had a musical working policy
Previous studies have assumed that music distracts the brain from any pain, but the new study, in the journal PNAS, suggests it may have more to do with working in time to the beat. In the experiments, neuroscientists monitored muscle movement, oxygen intake and subjects' own feelings as they exercised to music.

In some cases the music was passively played to everyone as they exercised and rested, in others the music was activated by the exercise machines being operated. They found exercisers who activated the music themselves were most likely to have the best muscle co-ordination, the most efficient oxygen intake and felt the least exhausted at the end.

Spurred on: Chants from football fans (pictured at the England V Poland match this week) are scientifically proven to spur players on.
Yet they had exercised just as hard as they had done when they felt more exhausted and stressed while passively listening to music. This, they said, suggests music is not merely a distraction but could be a driving force in working harder and more efficiently. The study said: 'Certain genres of music like Blues and Gospel are, in their formation, directly linked to hard physical work. 'When the slaves toiled in the cotton fields, they sang. When chained prisoners chipped stones in the quarries, they sang, and incorporated the sounds of work into their music.

'When sportsmen and women want to achieve peak performance they often let themselves be driven by music and occasionally also fans singing and chanting.' Study author, Tom Fritz said: 'These findings are a breakthrough because they decisively help to understand the therapeutic power of music. 'Making music makes physical exertion less exhausting.'

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