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.
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.)
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)