One of my favorite memories as a PE teacher happened in the winter of my last year of teaching.

The memory revolves around music and exercise.

It was a fitness day, and my class was up on the track in our new gym completing a running assignment. One of the nice features of this new space was the ability to play music from the radio and have it broadcast (loudly) throughout the gym and around the track. On that day, as I was checking the student’s laps, a group of freshman girls rounded the nearest curve, they were jogging and singing in unison.  At the top of their lungs, (or so it seemed to me) they were belting out the lyrics to the Katy Perry song Roar; and their anthem was perfectly synced with the radio…

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire

‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar

Louder, louder than a lion

‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar

Oh oh oh oh oh oh

Oh oh oh oh oh oh

Oh oh oh oh oh oh

You’re gonna hear me roar

Now I’m floating like a butterfly

Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes

I went from zero, to my own hero…

It was the most adorable thing. High school girls –  with dramas and attitudes, angst, piercings and tattoos all singing like children.

As they passed me, their faces looked happy, carefree and impassioned, not the usual stressed out, gloomy “how am I going to get through this run,” expression. Music was taking their mind off of the usual unpleasant feedback they might experience when jogging. They were all highly focused on singing the next line; they were making memories and having fun…while jogging! Which brings me to the subject of this post: the important and significant health benefits from listening to music while working out.

Studies show there are significant health benefits of music.  Besides taking the mind off of any negative feelings that might occur during a workout, music can change a mood, improve concentration and focus, increase social bonding and help with pacing during exercise. (all of which was evident with my group of freshman singers)

Other perks, which these girls may not realize until they are a bit older, include –  reducing levels of stress in the body and improving the function of the immune system.

Katy Perry’s song Roar is now one of my favorite work out songs. It’s a little hard for me to admit this mainly because it is so overplayed on Chicago radio and TV, and… it’s kind of a teen pop song, not my usual choice in music. But what the heck, I like it. It warmly brings to mind the image of the girls in my class, their youth, happiness and carefree attitude. The song evokes a very pleasant memory for me.

I recently read that when asked to talk about the meaning behind the song, Katy said “Your biggest bully becomes your self. Sometimes you gotta find that inner strength and stand up for yourself.”

How relevant – as a mood boosting warm up before my walks, and as an inspirational message for young people today.

What’s a favorite work out song for you? How does it inspire?

stvdy:  Sumatran Tiger (Michael Deneau)

2 thoughts on “music

  1. You are so right. I can see how music can have many health benefits, and I just love your story about your students. When I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2012, I would listen to the songs where my happiest memories were from, like an Angles and Airwaves concert. I would listen to the songs while driving to my next chemo appointment. It would put me in a better mood. 🙂 Your post just inspired me to write about my experience with music. Thank you!


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