Ever wondered why the dwarfs from Disney movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs were so effective in their work? Turns out it’s down to their policy of whistling while they work.
New research shows that listening to music makes manual workers put in more effort without realising. And the rhythm helps make physical exertion seem less exhausting, too.
The Daily Mail reported that researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Germany found muscles were more co-ordinated when there was music, therefore making the work more effective and the workers less likely to feel tired.
While other studies have suggested that music distracts the brain from any pain, this new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal indicates it could be more related to working in time with the beat.
As part of the research, neuroscientists monitored muscle movement, oxygen intake and subjects’ own feelings as they exercised to music. Sometimes the music was played passively to everyone as they exercised and rested while in other cases the music was activated only by the exercise machines being used.
The results showed those who activated the music themselves were most likely to have the best muscle co-ordination, most efficient oxygen intake and were the least exhausted by the end. This is despite that they had exercised just as hard as when passively listening to music.
The researchers conclude that music isn’t a distraction but could be a driving force in working harder and more efficiently.
“These findings are a breakthrough because they decisively help to understand the therapeutic power of music,” study author Tom Fritz said in the Daily Mail report. “Making music makes physical exertion less exhausting.”
The study also points out that certain genres of music such as Blues and Gospel are linked to hard physical work.
“When the slaves toiled in the cotton fields, they sang. When chained prisoners chipped stones in the quarries, they sang, and incorporated the sounds of work into their music,” it states. “When sportsmen and women want to achieve peak performance they often let themselves be driven by music and occasionally also fans singing and chanting.”
So next time you want your employees to put in a bit more effort maybe suggest they turn on their i-Pod or whistle a tune.