Music to Stay Fit: The Evolution of Music from Entertainment to Workout During a Global Pandemic
6 September 2021
[Image Source: The Standard]
By Lydia M Joshua
On 31st December 2019, the first case of CoronaVirus disease was reported in Wuhan China. This new virus would come to change the course of the world, and eventually affect us locally when the Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe confirmed the first case in Kenya on 13th March 2020.
In order to fight the virus, the Ministry of Health in conjunction with Government of Kenya has since been implementing different guidelines which include but are not limited to; limitation of people in public gatherings, lockdowns, closure of clubs and churches (which was later changed to limitation of people in closed public gatherings), wearing of masks and encouraging non-essential workers to work from home.
Overtime, these measures have had adverse effects on the entertainment industry and consequently the music industry at large. Before the global pandemic, partying overnight was part of Kenyan culture. In fact, one of the biggest remixes of 2019 which premiered in October 2019 dubbed ‘Party After Party Remix’ by DJ Chui featuring top Gengetone stars Zzero, Rekles, Nelly The Goon, Boondocks Gang, and Magix Enga, perfectly described the endless party scene in Kenya.
These party scenes were very essential in promoting new music and enabled the growth of a then growing genre dubbed ‘Gengetone’ as well as other genres. However, the guidelines implemented to curb the spread of coronavirus including social distancing and closing of clubs, adversely affected the consumption of music in the country for entertainment purposes.
In addition to the aforementioned guidelines, other guidelines adopted not only in Kenya but around the world included encouraging as many non-essential workers to work from home. This has slowly but surely led to the growth of home-based offices around the world bringing many people closer to their kitchens and fridges than before. In fact, different polls around the world including a poll from 1,000 WebMD readers revealed that a sizable number of people attributed their weight gain between the year 2020 to 2021 to ‘Covid Restrictions’.
This is also a problem because fighting the virus requires a healthy body and a strong immune system, and as a result home based workouts and gyms have been gaining momentum both locally and internationally. The increase of workouts has encouraged the evolution of music which was previously played in clubs and entertainment areas to be adopted to the new home-workout routines.
Supporting the effectiveness of working out to music is an article published by Frontiers in Psychology which cites that music does actually influence emotional responses, automatic movements, coordination, and the organization and planning of movements during workouts.
Looking back, it is easy to appreciate just how music finds a way to evolve and incorporate itself into our new normal regardless of the obstacles that seek to eradicate it. As we continue to fight, we hope that you are joining the rest of the world in preparing a playlist for your next workout.
So which are some of the local hits Kenyans have been jamming out while working out?
Utawezana – Femi One and Mejja
For the better part of 2020, Utawezana was a massive tune. The song was played everywhere. At my local gym, it is still an anthem used to lift up our spirits as we embark on high intensity aerobics sessions. The good thing with ‘Utawezana’ is the fact that it is infectious, you dance to it effortlessly, therefore making it a good workout jam.
Yes Bana – Khaligraph ft Bien
Working out requires positive vibes and ‘Yes Bana’ is all about that. The song is full of manifestations which will inspire you to lift weights and spend more time on the treadmill.
Rhumba Japani - Sauti Sol
This is best for Zumba classes. You are guaranteed of effortlessly burning off calories while jamming to the nice piece by Sauti Sol.
Hapo Tu –Nyashinski ft Chris Kaiga
Psych is very important when working out. You always need something or someone to motivate you to keep pushing. In case you lack someone, the ‘Hapo Tu’ can be a source of motivation for you, imagine doing your squats with Nyashinski singing “hapo tu hapo tu…”