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The Emotional Push-Up

by Brayden Ortman 10 months ago in list

Don't Cry, Push.

IG — @bradyortman

Running On Notes

I am certain that the ongoing (everlasting) pandemic has left many of you at an emotional expense. Unfortunately, the restrictions have taken us away from many of our prior joys in the social world. Although isolation is not ideal, our time at home has helped us reconstruct our busy schedules and find new goals to achieve. We have nearly endless interests to pursue, but some of the longest-standing are improving your personal physique and learning those marvellous melodies. I believe each of those skills take an enormous amount of effort and diligence to successfully perform, regrettably, this article will only vastly improve one.

Obviously, carrying massive muscles will not allow you to play guitar better. After all, those are often micro-movements and generally require precise agility. However, mentally absorbing an incredible guitar solo may help you workout more effectively— and by may, I mean certainly. There is a wonderful psychology in the relationship of music and exercise. As a general rule of thumb, studies have shown that incorporating music into your workouts will distract your body from the physical strain, help your mind refocus on routine, produce happier hormones, and convince you that you are not working as hard as you may think (though, you are). Undoubtedly, this perspective begs the question: does working out with music have overall health benefits? Yes, clearly. The real question lies in the genre, tone, and speed of the tunes you are echoing throughout your bedroom.

IG — @bradyortman

A Confident Crescendo

Sadly, most of us have encountered a failing relationship or loss within our lives. The first month is gut-wrenching and unbearable, but as time moves forward, as do we. The idea of coming-to-age by changing your entire routine and finding your best life has made the subject for numerous movies, books, and even music itself. I believe that the emotional benefits of exercise are strictly out of the question, but why do those painful instances consistently fuel our necessity to succeed? I believe there is a connection between the emotions we experience in music and how we apply our feelings to physicality. Similarly, we storm off with pounding steps when we're angry or curl up in a ball when we're heartbroken. The belief proposes that emotions (memories, experiences, fear, love— the entire bundle) would have an effect on how we perform exercise.

This theory would support why the rap or hip-hop genre is topping the lists for the most popular workout bops. While dance scores are close behind, creating emotionally-fuelled dance pieces can be difficult as they are usually uplifting anthems. In my personal opinion, rap is poetry, and consistently depicts real, passionate responses to life dilemmas. The opening lines to Eminem's 'Till I Collapse' or 'Lose Yourself" are perfect examples:

Till I Collapse:

'Cause sometimes you just feel tired, you feel weak

And when you feel weak you feel like you want to just give up

But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength

And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up

And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you want to just fall flat on your face and collapse.

Lose Yourself:

Look, If you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment.

Would you capture it

Or just let it slip?

Both of these lyrics suggest to the listener that we cannot give up, abandon our goal, or lose determination to succeed— and while the second quote offers a question, the overall context suggests that you must keep working and achieve your dreams. I believe the lyrics generalize pain, but that may be the key to their effectiveness. We can apply the emotions within these songs to any aspect of our life or struggle and still transform the mental debt into unwavering motivation. Most of Eminem's work produces anger-filled words to narrate him persevering to overcome his devastating circumstances in Detroit. Is anger the key emotion in an intensive workout? Yep! During phases of anger, the brain will flush the majority of blood towards muscles to prepare for physical activity. The heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and breathing pattern also increase as a precautionary response.

IG — @bradyortman

The Dashing Diminuendo

Fortunately, we cannot induce anger on command, that could potentially be a problem! If we explore this topic further, we also find that not all rap is angry, but overflowing with sadness and fear. As the some of the most powerful emotions humanity can harness, I would agree that they are also applicable and can be transformed into that same life-altering motivation. The rising artist, NF, has some lyrics in 'Hate Myself' and 'How Could You Leave Us' that can provide some emphasis:

Hate Myself:

I walk through the ashes of my passions

Reminiscin' with the baggage in my casket

Get lost in the questions I can't answer

Can't stand who I am, but it don't matter

We scream to be free, but I stay captured

Knee-deep in defeat of my own actions

Feel weak, but the peace that I keep lackin'

Keeps speakin' to me, but I can't have it.

How Could You Leave Us:

I wish you were here, mama, but every time I picture you

All I feel is pain, I hate the way I remember you

They found you on the floor, I could tell you felt hollow

Gave everything you had, plus your life to them pill bottles

You gave everything you had, plus your life to them pill bottles

Don't know if you hear me or not, but if you're still watchin', why?

The painful lyrics serve as a reminder of the depression life can force us to endure, yet human nature relies on survival, and one of the beautiful aspects of the human mind is our ability to use our suffering to create accomplishment. NF speaks on the topics of his mother's overdose, his dark depression, and the shattered childhood he experienced. As an upcoming and new creator, his music does not appear much on the Spotify workout playlists, however I highly recommend his music for workouts.

A Tango With Truth

After considering these findings, I have concluded that the relationship between music and exercise is very clear, but does not truly have any direct relevance in anger, fear, or depression. The truth lies in applicability. How can we expect an individual suffering with depression to find unity in happy ballads? Or someone grieving over death to find peace in songs about experiencing life? I suppose the topic is subjective to those who experience those emotions, but for most of us, I would agree that we find comfort in music that empathizes our mood. As for the physical context, most studies show that hits between 100 - 180 BPM improve your endurance and act as a natural metronome for completing your exercises. I find that note particularly interesting due to the fact that Eminem's most motivational workout songs measure within the mid eighties (85 BPM). The proof is simple, search 'Eminem workout songs' on Google, the aforementioned will appear. This reinforces my understanding that music is unquestionably effective for your performance, but the emotional connection to battle conflicts in your life is the genuine motivator.

We are continually called to success. Our achievements are contingent on our failures, but the victory is found in our uprise and our continued persistence. The beauty of life itself is that we have every opportunity to create something magnificent, whether that lies in your fitness or the keys on your piano, you compose your own unique adventure.

Of course, this wouldn't be complete without my selection of beats from the two to keep you limitless:

1. Godzilla — Eminem (feat. Juice WRLD)

2. PAID MY DUES — NF

3. Till I Collapse — Eminem

4. Returns — NF

5. Lose Yourself — Eminem

6. Only — NF (feat. Sasha Sloan)

7. Sing For The Moment — Eminem

8. Leave Me Alone — NF

9. Not Alike — Eminem (feat. Royce Da 5'9)

10. Options — NF

Enjoy!

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Brayden Ortman

I am a wedding photographer, content creator, educator, and media marketer based in Saskatchewan, Canada.

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