Did you know that aside from song birds, humans are the only creatures that automatically feel the beat of a song?
Music activates the muscles’ control center of our brains that get us moving to the rhythm. In the book, Healing at the Speed of Sound, authors explain the ability of music to shift the body into different gears. In third gear (music tempo greater than 90 beats per minute), heart rate and energy levels are elevated making it a good choice for exercise motivation. First gear consists of sounds at low tempo (less than 60 bpm), at a low frequency and low volume. These sounds help create a calm and relaxed environment perfect for a stretch or Yoga class.
Fitness professionals commonly use a tempo of 125-135 beats per minute for water exercise. However, the frequency of the exericse music itself is rarely considered. Research shows that both tempo and frequency have a direct affect on workout productivity and have an ability to:
- Decrease blood pressure
- Increase oxygen consumption
- Occupy the mind, freeing the body to do it’s work
A New Sound for Water Exercise
“Blue Rhythm” was created to connect mind and body to facilitate better movement mechanics and better exercise results. In development, two important factors we considered were the tempo and frequency.
To get started I sent video clips of me exercising to the tunes of my favorite fitness music to musicians Erika and Jamie Mahn. One of their first observations was “the music was out of sync with the movements”. From their perspective, the fluidity of the water exercises needed a better musical match. They explained:
“Just like you would readily recognize the reggae island sounds of Bob Marley or the steady train beat of Johnny Cash, a sound synonymous to the unique exercises of WECOACH was needed!”
That’s when Erika went to work! The first step was to develop several contrasting styles of music that were totally unique to water exercise. When I tested the options they created in the pool, one of was a clear winner. Erika and Jamie experimented that sound further which led to developing distinctive melodies to “Blue Rhythm”.
Fun Facts about Erika
“I’ve been fascinated with music from a very early age. I was always interested in listening to all genres and hearing the parts that came together to make up songs. I’ve studied voice, piano, guitar and songwriting to give me the necessary tools to create and produce music. I also draw and write; connecting with people through all types of art is my passion. I believe we have the ability to change lives through artistic expression.”
– Erika Mahn
Frequency & Tempo of Blue Rhythm
“Blue Rhythm” is a unique combination of low frequency and tempo of 128 beats per minute with a low tempo feel. In fact, instructors are often surprised to learn the true tempo of this new sound.
Erika explains how this was done:
“We did certain things during the production process to give the music a more relaxed feel. Long joining notes, lots of space, as well as slow attacks and releases on the synth and organ give the overall impression of a slower tempo. The desired effect is that the body is moving faster than the mind realizes so the person exercising gets a better workout.”
Could this unique combination be preparing the brain for better learning of more efficient movement patterns?
Here are some of the ways that I use “Blue Rhythm” in my group exercise classes:
- First 30 minutes of a 50-minute class for the warm-up and functional training (then I turn to 80s, pop, oldies … wrapping up with some chill music).
- 60 minutes of Stretch Fusion programming (looping the CD twice).
- First 15 minutes to warm-up participants and prepare them for a high intensity workout.
- Final 15-20 minutes of a workout (core conditioning and stretch).
FUN FACT: Blue Rhythm was composed in this blue cottage in the middle of nature in Kananaskis, Alberta.
The music of “Blue Rhythm” has a tropical island feel. It helps clear and relax the mind while energizing the body to move with the percussive melodies. The seamless transitions between songs results in a continuous feeling of relaxed calm and sense of an invigorating workout!
Thanks for reading,