Every now and then we all need a boost, that little something that tips us over the edge from human – to superhuman. That something is adrenaline and it’s there for the taking.
Adrenaline takes Joe Average and turns him into Captian Super Joe The Incredible, by affecting a myriad of bodily functions including: breathing, blood circulation, carbohydrate metabolism and redistributing blood to the muscles in preparation for physical exertion.
Clearly this is useful for actual life or death situations. Increased oxygen to the brain increases focus, potentially leading to better decision making which could save your life. Also more oxygen to the muscles means they can work harder for longer, potentially getting you out of sticky situations. Dilated pupils allow more light to hit your retinas, optimising your vision – the list goes on.
Why save adrenaline for when you desperately need to survive though? Things like physical training benefit hugely from the effects of the hormone so yes, people have figured out that certain things trigger the release of adrenaline without actually risking their life. Music being one of them.
Listening to music pre-exercise has been shown in studies to raise the heart rate and cause adrenaline to enter the bloodstream, fast tempo music being the most effective. Sitting there with your earphones in, sound pulsing through your brain, totally in your own world brings a feeling of anticipation and a surge of energy.
Furthermore, perceived stress indicators such as loud noises stimulate the release of adrenaline. Your caveman brain is wired to think that loud noises are a bad thing, like “something unusual is happening here so I’d better run”. If you’ve ever been to a gig and been stood near to the speakers, you’ll know all about the effects of the inner ear giving you a euphoric response to the vibrations.
While I’m in no way suggesting that you should literally damage yourself to get a kick of adrenaline, it’s interesting nonetheless. The right kind of music at the right time should be enough to put you in a zone of higher focus, heart rate and blood pressure – ideal for muscular punishment. One of the added benefits of adrenaline is a higher pain threshold too, so squeezing that extra bit of effort into whatever you’re doing becomes less of a problem.
So there you go, it’s time to dig deep and push yourself the extra mile using whatever help you can get. Earphones in, no excuses.