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Music and arousal levels in performance

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

This a great article on high tempo and emotionally charged music improving performance for neuro-sympathetic activation while exercising and lifting.

When it comes to athletic performance music can be used to activate arousal levels or reduce them. While the article focuses on a demographic that requires activation of arousal levels, in other athletic contexts, lower tempo music can be relaxing and reduce stress for those whose anxiety levels have taken over. “Music might induce changes in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems of potential clinical use, particularly in modulating stress” say medical researchers in Italy. They go on to say “music can reduce stress and improve athletic performance” and “appropriate selection of music, by alternating fast and slower rhythms and pauses, can be used to induce relaxation and reduce sympathetic activity.”

Working with athletes and exercisers to develop an awareness of what is going on with their bodies emotionally and physically is crucial. With that awareness, they will recognise what type of music may be helpful in either raising their arousal levels or alternatively reducing anxiety and stress to help them perform optimally.


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