Music and Your Workout: The Dynamic Duo
Listening to music when hitting the gym isn’t a new concept but understanding how your favorite tunes can help enhance your exercise routine might not be as obvious.
The National Library of Medicine found that listening to music distracts people from the feelings of pain and fatigue that come with working out, because let’s face it — it’s hard to feel pain while simultaneously sweating it out to “Single Ladies,” by Beyoncé.
The study also found that music elevates mood, increases endurance and even reduces perceived effort. So, if things feel easier when you work out to music it’s not just in your head — it’s a scientific fact. Time and time again, people have shown that when they listen to music during a workout, they can enhance their physical abilities whether it be in the pool or on the track — often without realizing it.
Now, this process is not as simple as just putting your music on shuffle. It needs to be thoughtful and take into consideration your emotions and associations with songs, but when done correctly, it can drastically impact your physical performance.
If you still need convincing, here are four additional reasons to rock out during your next workout:
- Music Statistically Enhances Performance
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) found that music increased athletic performance by up to 15%. Combined with the study mentioned above, music certainly seems to distract our minds long enough to push our bodies a bit more than we would otherwise.
- The Beat Pushes your Workout to the Next Level
Listening to music helps you work harder, especially if it’s a fast-paced song. According to Costas Karageorghis, an associate professor of sport and exercise psychology at Brunel University in England, songs between 120 and 140 beats per minute seem to have the maximum effect on performance.
- Rhythm Determines Pace
The rhythm of your workout music stimulates the motor area of the brain, determining when to move and aiding self-paced exercises such as running or weightlifting. By paying attention to the beat, and timing your movements accordingly, you can save energy and work more efficiently — whether you’re training for a marathon or simply powerwalking after work.
- Music Gets You in the Zone
There’s a reason why particular songs make us feel certain emotions. The same study from the National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine found that identifying with the singer’s emotional state can impact the motivation you feel listening to their songs. So, skip that sad breakup song and instead opt for the song that makes you feel excited, like the song you listened to after winning the big game with your teammates. Anything that makes you feel confident and capable will add additional motivation to your workouts.
Listening to music does more than just distract us from any physical discomfort — it helps to create and control our movements in real-time, connecting the body and mind. So, the next time you whip out those headphones and queue a workout playlist, remember that your music may be doing more for your exercise routine than you previously realized.
And if you need a little assistance in curating the perfect workout playlist, be sure to check out those found in the JRNY digital fitness platform.