How Music Tricks You to Crave Less and Exercise More

Beyond daily enjoyment, music can influence our behavior. Upbeat tunes can fuel workouts while calming melodies can curb cravings. As Robert Veres, founder of Pomaly App puts it, “Music has the power to transform our minds and elevate our spirits. It’s a symphony that resonates within us, shaping our emotions and influencing our actions.”

The Science Behind the Soundtrack

A study published in Science Direct proposes that listening to music could offer a beneficial alternative for individuals prone to emotional eating. Findings from this study, recently featured in the Appetite journal, suggest that specific genres of music may mitigate emotion-driven eating habits. These are the key points where music plays a significant factor in emotional eating:

  • Emotions significantly influence overeating, yet research on practical approaches to reducing overconsumption during negative moods—such as stress, sadness, boredom, or anxiety—is scarce.
  • Emotional eaters commonly indulge in high-fat, high-sugar foods lacking in nutritional value, often termed ‘comfort foods,’ which reinforce their emotional role.
  • Both food and music elicit similar neural responses in the brain, offering comfort and mood stabilization. However, relying on food to regulate mood can lead to excessive eating and weight gain without addressing the underlying emotional triggers.

This also indicates that individuals who employ a diverse range of coping mechanisms for low moods tend to have better overall mental health. While eating is among the least effective coping strategies for emotions, listening to music consistently emerges as a positive and beneficial method.

Building Your Soundtrack

While the research offers promising results, it’s important to remember that the impact of music is highly individual. What works for one person might not resonate with another. The key lies in creating a personalized “craving-busting” or “motivation-boosting” playlist based on your preferences and the specific goals you’re aiming for. Robert Veres shares ways to curb your cravings through music:

  • Focus on tempo: Opt for upbeat, high-tempo songs with a driving rhythm. Studies suggest this can help distract from cravings and promote feelings of satiety.
  • Choose empowering lyrics: Songs with positive, self-affirming messages can strengthen your resolve to resist unhealthy temptations.
  • Consider genre: Certain genres, like classical or electronic music, may be more effective in curbing cravings compared to others.

Boosting Workout Motivation

A recent study conducted at Indiana University investigated the influence of music on gym users’ workout experiences, comparing the effects of self-selected songs—where individuals could tailor their music to their liking—versus facility-selected playlists that remained unchanged during exercise sessions. Robert Veres sheds light on three ways self-selected music enhances motivation to exercise:

  • Personalized motivation: Choose your soundtrack to fuel your drive and keep you pushing during workouts.
  • Enhanced performance: Sync your movements to the rhythm of your music, leading to increased endurance and efficiency.
  • Positive mood regulation: Select upbeat tunes to boost your workout mood and keep those happy vibes flowing.

Robert Veres concludes by stating, “By understanding the power of music and tailoring your listening experience to your specific needs, you can leverage this powerful tool to achieve your goals, whether it’s overcoming cravings or pushing yourself further during a workout.”