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Groove Music Benefits

Music can increase motivation and improve brain fitness.

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People working out to groove music

Music that makes you want to move, referred to in research as “groove music,” not only increases feelings of pleasure and arousal, but also enhances cognitive function, according to new research published in Scientific Reports (2022; 12 [7377]).

“Groove rhythm” is enhanced by low-to-medium syncopation and by low-frequency components like the rhythm of bass drums. Studies show this music type affects the interaction between body movement and brain function.

University of Tsukuba researchers in Japan conducted brain imaging on subjects as they listened to groove music and conducted cognitive tasks. “The results were surprising,” said senior investigator Hideaki Soya, PhD, professor of exercise biochemistry and neuroendocrinology at University of Tsukuba. “We found that groove rhythm enhanced executive function and activity in the left dorsolateral prefontal cortex, [but] only in participants who reported that the music elicited a strong groove sensation, [as well as] the sensation of being clear-headed. Our findings indicate individual differences in psychological responses to groove music modulate the corresponding effects on cognitive function. As such, the effects of groove rhythm on human cognitive performance may be influenced by familiarity or beat processing ability.”

Study authors suggest this may explain some of the benefits of exercise conducted with music.

See also: New Music and Exercise Research Findings

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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