Saturday, August 25, 2007

Jogging to Beethoven

I discovered something awesome today. I was in the gym upstairs and usually while exercising I have dance music on, to be able to jog intermittently and at the end of the 45 minutes I am dead. Since I am not really regular I always end up a pushing myself too hard and the result afterwards is body in trauma and head spinning. Of course the feeling of accomplishment is there and the endorphins are making their rounds but you come back to your apartment feeling anything but relaxed.

Today I was listening to WGBH's podcast of classical music on my iPod instead. They were playing Beethoven's Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, commonly known as the Kreutzer Sonata. One of his best-known sonatas written for piano and violin. After which more Beethoven followed. I can’t tell you how amazing the synchronicity between the mind and body that followed was. I was so taken by surprise. Jogging was easier it wasn't the frenetic pushing yourself to do 30 more seconds – it was as if the mind was orchestrating the body in perfect movements and there was a feeling of calm. I was so surprised because although my electronic selection for my exercise routine does give me the energy. It is a very different energy from the one that I felt today. That energy is like the artificial Red Bull effect, today it was organic flowing like good chi throughout my body. I exercised far longer than ever and far more intensely but felt no strain.

The entire day my state of mind had been like a disturbed ECG report with spikes of irritation and crankiness. But at the end of an hour of the treadmill today I felt what a very creased pair of trousers would feel, if it could have feelings, after a bout of thorough professional ironing. I was fascinated, of course it’s not the first time I had heard classical music, but it was the first time I had paired exercising with it. So I researched into sound waves, frequencies and our bodily reactions to it.

Low frequency sound waves make us uncomfortable. The lowest are called infrasound, sounds that emanate from machinery and stuff in the house like ventilation and cooling/heating systems. Low frequency waves can cause symptoms such as nausea, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, vibration of internal organs and a feeling of oppression.

This is what I found on the net in an ezine article by Tania Gabrielle French …

On the other hand, certain high frequency sounds literally energize your mind. Scientists have found that sounds from 5,000 to 8,000 hertz recharge your brain’s batteries.

If your CD collection includes music by Mozart, Baroque Music or even Tibetan Chants, keep listening. In numerous studies, these sounds have been found to charge the cortex of the brain and stimulate health and wellness.

At 120-125 hertz you begin to hear the kick drums and bass guitar common to rock music. These lower frequencies produce the opposite effect - they drain us.

Why is this?

Because they have wave-lengths longer than we are tall, which is why lower frequencies are FELT as well as heard. You can feel this low frequency full-body sensation at dance clubs and rock concerts. Or from listening to most FM radio stations.

Since we are mostly exposed to low frequency sounds in the media, I strongly suggest you balance your brain and body by listening to high frequency classical music at least once a day. It’s easy and effortless – and great for you.

So next time you are exercising forget your usual disco/hip hop/dance/electro/techno collection and pick up Beethoven instead!


Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

very interesting! thanks...

smiles, bee

Robert said...

That's funny, my dear friend, because I am listening right now to Bach, Suite #1-6 on cello. I've been listening as I commented on your comment on my site and, as you will tell when you read it, I kind of soared off into a lengthy explanation which was really quite enjoyable. I love how classical music, at least certain kinds, seems to ground me deeply in myself. Like the music is floating off above an immovable root of being. I love it. Thanks for sharing.

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Random,
great posts at your place too
love thinking blogs that invite visitors to comment and interact

QUASAR9 said...

Random, I shall not contradict the evidence, for I've seen the kind of cultured people that listen to classical music.
Maybe we are putting the cart before the horse, maybe it is simply that certain intellectuals listen to classical music, not that classical music makes you an intellectual ...
though of course if you want to belong to a classical music listening intellectual clique (if not elite) it helps if you know something about it and enjoy listening to it.

Alas, I must confess I'm into rock
Perhaps I'm the exception to the rule. It certainly does not drain me, I feel possitively charged listening to something like Simple Minds "Jeweller to the Stars" - but hey, that's just me. lol

Random Magus said...

Empress Bee (of the High Sea):
Hey! Thanks for stopping by :):):)

I am going over to read it now :)

Don't get me wrong I love me some rock as well and electronica and trance and alternative but this combination of Beethoven and running on my treadmill was truly euphoric but very organically not chemically ;)

HollyGL said...

Oh my gosh, Random, years ago, a good friend of mine gave me a group of cds called "The Mozart Effect". The idea was exactly what you're talking about in this post. Though I love Mozart, other than a cursory listen on occasion, I never really ...tested the theory.

I've always been like Q9 with rock music while working out. I am going to listen to those cds when I excercise tomorrow and see how it affects me. I'm actually excited to give it a whirl! :)

Random Magus said...

I was so surprised myself because you kind of don't think that the two would go together I mean jogging and classical music..but for me today it was a fantastic experience. Really calmed me.

B said...


I never do cardio without my ipod but I have never thought to use classical music- you have sparked my interest- I am gonna download some and try it.

I came across your blog via titania

have a great week end.

Anonymous said...

Steph beat me to the punch. I was going to mention "The Mozart Effect". There was actually a NOVA television special on that experiment, fascinating stuff.

I, for one, never listen to music while working out. I do very compact, very intense circuit training. Say my first circuit is the speed bag. 2 minutes at 60%, 3 minutes at 80%, 4 minutes at 100% and then the steps back down.

That equates to 1 Green Day song, 1 Violent Femmes, 1 Led Zep, etc.

I find myself thinking, "It's over after this last chorus" instead of concentrating on form and movement.

When it comes to working out, I'm all business.

kellypea said...

Thanks for the specifics. Intuitively, I have always been drawn to Beethoven when I'm cleaning around the house or cooking. I don't have an iPod, so can't comment on the exercise, but imagine that it would be amazing. Mozart is for working and thinking. And if you enjoy the chants, try the "Anoymous 4's"
English Ladymass.

Great post!

surjit said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful experiences. Good luck.

Amel's Realm said...

GREAT post. I never knew that it could work with exercising!!!

I'd surely remember to listen to more classical music then he he he...

noisms said...

I wonder if that works with animals too. (Although most of them are shorter than us, so maybe they don't need as high a frequency of sound to be energised?) I'm reminded of those studies which suggest that cows produce more milk if you play Mozart to them.

Random Magus said...

Hey welcome. For me to it was a fluke because some of the music on my iPod is specifcaaly for exercising mostly. Yesterday I just thought I’d hear my classical stuff.

I wish I could be. I do walking interspersed with jogging. First 5 minutes warm up. Then 5 minutes brisk walking, 6 minutes jogging, then 2 minutes walking then 5 minutes jogging, in that pattern.

Today I’m going to try some other piece

Random Magus said...

Thanks for stopping by

Amel's Realm:
Neither did I and because of my dad I’ve been hearing classical music ever since I was little. He’s crazy about it and has everything. I’m not exaggerating. He tried to get me to like opera but that I don’t, not really except Carmen maybe....

I’ve read many places that it calms them. In Somerset a RSCPA rescue center installed a £2,000 sound system to play soothing classical music to stressed dogs.

Amel's Realm said...

Ah...I've always liked classical music since I was in Junior High, but I'm not too fanatic about it, but I do have my favourites. Since I'm not a fanatic fan, I don't remember the titles of my fave, but if I hear them, I'll be able to hum along with them he he he...I like some of Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin...I like Carmen, too! ;-D

Operas? I LOVE The Phantom of the Opera he he he...I'd LOVE to watch the real opera someday...maybe...we'll see. ;-D

Ingrid said...

Well, I learned something new today. Thanks, Random Magus!

I have always had mixed feelings about Beethoven. My dad used to play the 5th Symphony whenever he was drinking heavily, so I shy away from him. But I have always loved Bach, Vivaldi and the music of the Baroque period. Over the years I have stopped listening to it. Maybe I'll use fitness as an incentive to reconnect.

Random Magus said...

Amel's realm: I'm like that - I think if you grow up with something you don't pay attention to it as compared to your own discovery of it. I have a few of my favs otherwise I'm like you not fanatical, not like my dad who can name all of them as soon as he hears a note.

Ingrid: I love 'Ode to Joy
Oh friends, not these tunes!
Rather let us sing more
cheerful and more joyful ones.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I don't have this problem...I don't exercise.

Bilbo said...

Interesting idea! I enjoy some of almost every genre of music (except rap and extreme heavy metal), but I've found that the music most conducive to thinking and working for me is either classical or Gregorian Chants. The Gregorian Chants especially are soothing and relaxing, and help get me centered for whatever I'm doing.

Josie Two Shoes said...

I love classical music, Amber, I used to do my homework to it in high school and college - but I never would have thought of it using this way - revolutionary idea, and it makes sense!

RubyShooZ said...

I love the feelings you've shared - not just plain information but the senses and the responses from your body to Beethoven and classical music while excercising.

Thanks - I like the way you share YOU. (I'm new here and hope to see you around here and there. I tend to share on a myriad of random-me and a variety of stuff. ) I admire randomness.

Peace, love and understanding.

Blur Ting said...

Oh really? I've never ran with Beethoven yet but i realise that with the right music, running becomse almost effortless. Only thing is after a while, the earphone starts slipping out while becomes very distracting.

I have found another way to make glossy magazines while I'm on the treadmill.

the domestic minx said...

Absolutely fascinating!!!
I love classical music but have even more reason to appreciate it now!

Brilliant post!

insanity-suits-me (Dawn) said...

That is interesting... I'll keep it in mind when I'm walking the dog... or should I say when the dog walks me...LOL

insanity-suits-me (Dawn) said...

PS: come on over and pick up your LUV badge :)

Random Magus said...

Jean-Luc Picard :
☺☺☺lucky you!

I also like almost all genre of music except Hip Hop and Rap isn’t my scene at all

Josie Two Shoes:
I want to test the idea again. Was feeling really ill yesterday so didn’t go up to exercise will try again today

Thank you very much! I am so glad you liked you visited and said hello. I really liked your blog as well.

Blur Ting:
But you are so used to running, and in your next marathon in October you must try it.

the domestic minx:
Coming from someone’s whose posts I absolutely adore.. makes me very happy... thanks

insanity-suits-me (Dawn):
Thank you the award - the feeling is mutual!!!

QUASAR9 said...

"Don't get me wrong I love me some rock as well and electronica and trance and alternative but this combination of Beethoven and running on my treadmill was truly euphoric but very organically not chemically ;) "

Hi Random. I know that's what you meant. Every kind of music that makes us feel good can either stimulate or relax us ...
on the other hand music which we don't like can be like irritating noise.

I was simply clarifying the point that certain intellectuals prefer or favour classical music - and not that listening to classic music necessarily improves 'intellect'

John said...

Interesting post. It's long been known that classical's stimilate the brain in interesting ways. I understand that it also helps with math functions and is an ideal background music for studying!

Interesting reading here and I am drawn to the name. Thanks for stopping by my page. I'll be back for another read soon.

Random Magus said...

Quasar9: I don't know about intellect but it soothes ruffled nerves

John: Thanks stopping by. There is a story behind the name, maybe I'll blog about it some day.