If asked what is your favorite time of year, chances are you won’t say it’s mid-November, unless you live in the southern hemisphere, where it is spring right now. But in New York, November is often grey and chilly, which may be the reason why so many people exercise much less that they do during the spring and summer months. (There’s actually a Gallop poll showing that Americans are less physically active as weather gets cold). Are you one of them?
We get it: when it is dark and cold outside, you don’t feel like going out for a jog or even a walk. It is so much easier and more pleasant to stay inside. But if this is your mindset, we hope you reconsider, especially since there is a good way to make even the most strenuous workout more enjoyable. We are referring to music, of course!
You might think we are giving you a song-and-dance routine here since we have a vested interest in teaching you to play an instrument. Actually, this statement is not totally self-serving: Studies suggest that listening to music while you exercise makes your workout more effective. There are several reasons why that is. For instance, a good beat not only makes you want to move, but it also helps you keep your pace. Also, listening to music creates a surge of energy that keeps you going, and it diverts your focus from physical discomfort – like soreness and tiredness – that a more strenuous workout might cause. In other words, music “tricks” your mind into concentrating on the sounds generated by your iPod rather than on your exertion level or the repetitive movements of your exercise routine. If you are wondering what is the best “exercise music,” here are some general suggestions:
As long we are on the subject of music and exercise, did you know that the mere action of playing an instrument provides a terrific workout as well? While it may not improve your athletic performance per se (unless you are a member of a fast-moving marching band), it can help you burn calories. Just as an example, playing drums for an hour will burn 270 calories; a guitar will “eat up” 204 calories; and a trombone 238. In fact, practically any instrument will use up at least 100 calories in one hour of playing. Also, since playing certain instruments is physically demanding, you can get a good workout while you are at it. Drum players, for instance, use practically all the body’s muscle groups for strength, speed, endurance, and coordination. In fact, all the instruments, as well as signing, exercise some muscle groups.
No, we can’t promise that you will lose loads of weight while playing an instrument (though you might) or that we will help improve the quality of your workout. What we can promise is that whatever instrument you’d like to play, we will be happy to come to your Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Riverdale home or office and give you lessons. Whether you use your new musical skills to drop a few pounds and get in shape is up to you. But as you can see from all the research above, music can help you be …as fit as a fiddle!