Distracted excercising

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  • Thread starter Pengwuino
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  • #1
Gold Member
I was wondering something. If you are distracted (with music or tlaking to someone or something like that) while you are excercising, are you better able to excercise mentally then if you weren't? And when i say mentally, I mean how long it takes until you start "feeling the burn" or starting to want to quit, not how long until your body starts giving way under stress. I always noticed last semester that when i had to walk across campus from this one class to another, it always seemed like such a long and exausting trip except when I was talking to one of my friends during the walk! If i talked to my friend while we both went to that class, it seems like the walk was much quicker and I never really felt like i had walked anywhere.

Is there anything to this? Would sitting infront of a tv while running result in a better/longer excercise then if you were completely focused on running? If so, does it depend on how easily you get distracted?

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Science Advisor
Very interesting question, and I have to admit it's harder to answer this than I thought it would be when I first read the question. So here we go. This is strictly from my personal experience, but I tend to think it's a little of both. In that I mean that I use both focused and distracted exercise throughout the course of an exercise routine. Now the balance is quite different depending on what I'm doing, when strength training for example I am typically more focused because I want to work on technique and hitting the muscle groups I'm trying to target. I'm doing 2-3 sets of a specific exercise with 6-8 reps each, there really isn't time to get into some distracted rhythm.

Now when I'm cycling there's plenty of time to fall into the "cycle"(:wink:) of pedalling along, especially on my recumbent since one can lean back in a comfy seat and enjoy the view. There are times such as hills, intersections or while passing others that I have to come back into focus and concentrate on spinning or avoiding obstacles and this is also the time when I notice my legs and what muscle groups are being used/fatigued. Now it could be that since I am spinning faster, or accelerating past other riders that I am pushing my muscles harder and it's reasonable to think that I should feel them more, but as soon as I can fade out again the feeling is gone. It goes like this for most of the ride, even fairly long ones where I know I'm pushing my legs beyond their current limit. Whether this actually results in a better workout I'm not sure. Yes, perhaps I can go longer distances when I'm distracted, but perhaps my average speed suffers when I'm not concentrating on cadence, spinning or whatever. What I need is a computer to track distance, speed (max and ave.) and other variables to give me some sort of quantitative aspect to the ride. Even then, I'm not sure the question will be entirely answered.
  • #3
Gold Member
No one else?
  • #4
I agree with you that things seem simpler when exercising with music, although I always thought the reason was similar to why time seems to go faster when you are busy or having fun and slower when you are bored. I did a pubmed search and here are some interesting abstracts on music and exercising.

Music can enhance exercise-induced sympathetic dominancy assessed by heart rate variability.

Carry-over effects of music in an isometric muscular endurance task.

Effects of distraction on treadmill running time in severely obese children and adolescents.

It seems like your question doesn't have a real answer but lots of other people are asking it.
By the way , I searched "exercise" AND "music" and "exercise" AND "music" AND running.
There were lots of articles. I'll have to start reading
  • #5
Mr. dude
I think that if you are distracted from certain activities you are able to do them better. Mostly the ones that have already been listed like running and biking. I listen to music while doing these things and if I don't have my CD player I can usually just think about things and become distracted.

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