Photographed by Claire Pepper.
Music is one of the most effective (and cheapest) mood-boosters there is. You already know your favorite tunes get you out of bed, supercharge your workout, and even make your morning commute enjoyable — or at least bearable. In honor of the power of a good beat, our friends at Shape have broken down the science behind pumping up the jams.
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Research indicates that everyone has a “preferred motor tempo,” the rhythm at which he or she most enjoys hearing music — helping to explain your reggae obsession, or why your best friend is an EDM devotee. When you hear a song at your ideal tempo, your motor cortex — the region of your brain that directs voluntary movement — activates, making you want to groove along with it. Plus, our preferred motor tempo actually decreases as we age. (In other words, it's not your parents' fault they like Kenny G.)
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When it comes to exercise, music's benefits are scientifically proven. The motor-cortex activation and distraction provided by a good jam can make a workout seem easier, helping you push harder for longer. Also, enjoyable music is seen as a reward, which triggers the release of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine, potentially dulling the pain of hardworking muscles. Up-tempo music isn't the only kind that can make you happier; paradoxically, sad music can do the same. To find out how, click through to the full story. This is your brain on music. (Shape)