A lot of us tend to use music to help us get through the day. Whether its cleaning or travelling, a bit of music makes the whole experience a bit more enjoyable. This can also be said for when we are using it to get creative juices flowing, or even while working out. But how effective is music for us in those scenarios?

According to a study published by Oxford University Press, noise isn’t always bad for the creative mind. But when it comes to focusing on a task, loud music is not your friend, go for moderate noise level. Moderate noise levels make processing information harder therefore allow your creative psyche to become abstract, this in turn leads to higher levels of creativity. We become more creative the lower the level of music is.

High noise levels cause us to be more distracted. The more stimulus our brain receives the more overwhelmed it becomes, making it harder to process information efficiently. The excess stimulus our brain gets makes concentrating very hard.

Even better than low noise levels is ambient noise, or “natural” sounds (waves at the beach, wind and rainc, etc.) this is the best to get the creative juices flowing. Bottom line, a soft background noise is what will help you concentrate the most. If you are working on writing or reading, try instrumental music. Studies liken writing or reading with music non-instrumental music to trying to have a conversation while someone talks over you. Both become an excess of information.

Here are some links to help you out:

For simple ambient white noise.

For some lovely rain sounds ( I also use this to help me sleep a lot.)

Classical Music anyone? Try Pandora’s Baroque station!

One of my personal favorite bands that doesn’t use lyrics and has an ambient sound is City of the Sun! Check out their music here.

Listening to music while exercising is a bit different. Music drowns out our brains cries of fatigue, it tells your brain to shut up and your body to keep moving! According to an article by Scientific American; “As our body realizes we’re tired wants to stop exercising, it sends signals to the brain to stop for a break. Listening to music competes for our brain’s attention, and can help us override those signals of fatigue.” If this doesn’t make you love music more than you did before, listen to this; listening to music during exercise also helps us to use our energy more efficiently.

Check out these charts to see how different types of music can help you get the most out of your workout. Happy Trails!