These days, it’s practically routine for people to put in a pair of ear buds when they work out at the gym.
In fact, many people find that they cannot finish their exercises if they aren’t listening to their favorite playlist, yet most people never stop to wonder why having the right music is a must for a good workout.
Is it just a matter of providing a distraction as you push yourself through a tough workout, or is there some other reason why music makes exercise so much easier? Let’s take a look.
Yes, Music Provides a Distraction
First of all, listening to music does indeed provide a distraction while you work out. As good as it feels to finish a workout, it’s still tough work. Your muscles strain as you lift weights, you breathe heavily as you run, and you push yourself to exhaustion.
You need something to take your mind off of what is happening, and being able to focus on music serves that purpose. Studies have shown that people who listen to music as they exercise increase their performance by up to 15 percent, simply because the music takes their minds off of their physical exertion.
Upbeat music seems to make the best distraction since it gives our brains more information to process. In other words, when you concentrate on listening to music, you stop thinking about how tough your workout really is.
What You Listen to Matters
Faster and more upbeat music does more than provide the best kind of distraction; it motivates you to work harder. As you focus on faster music,
you will unconsciously start to move faster. This has some obvious benefits, but listening to something that is too fast and too intense might push you to work too hard. At the same time, you don’t want to listen to something that sounds too slow and relaxed. Songs that are between 120 and 140 beats per minute seem to be best for a moderate workout.
It’s important that anything you listen to during your workout has a steady beat as well. You might like the idea of sitting and listening to a complex musical composition that switches its rhythm and tempo unexpectedly, but a workout calls for something with a steady beat. The right music with the right kind of tempo will force you to fall into a steady rhythm as you jog, bike, or spend time on a treadmill.
Improving Your Mood
Listening to music is always a great way to improve your mood. This is true whether you are working up a sweat in the gym or you are listening to something relaxing while falling asleep. Since workouts are never much fun when you’re in a bad mood, you might need to find the right playlist if you’re going to the gym after you’ve had a bad day at work. Chances are that you already listen to music to change your mood anyway, so why not combine that with a satisfying workout? You’ll feel much better when you’re done.
Tips for Using Music During Your Workout
Now that we’ve established that listening to music during your workout is a good idea, we should talk about how to make the most out of this practice. First of all, there is no one perfect workout playlist that works for everybody. Different people like different things when it comes to music, so find something that you like. This is also the best reason to wear ear buds or headphones at the gym. You might love to listen to your hip-hop playlist at the gym, but not everyone will want to hear it.
Next, try to choose something that is fairly upbeat and fast, but not too fast. As we said before, anything between 120 and 140 beats per minute is just perfect, but anything faster will just push you to the point of exhaustion. Anything slower will just slow your workout down, and listening to something that is too sad and depressing will obviously make you too sad to want to keep exercising.
If you’re exercising outdoors, either turn down the volume on your music so you can hear what is around you or turn it off altogether. You need to be fully aware of your surroundings if you jog or ride your bike through your neighborhood.
Finally, watch the volume of your music. As much as you might want to drown out the sound of some bro grunting his way through a workout or people who have loud conversations on their cell phones, turning up your music until you’re hurting your ears is not the way to do it. You also need to have some idea of what is going on around you. It’s nice to put yourself into your own world during your workout, but you need to be ready to step back into reality when you need to.
Summing It Up
No matter what kind of music you enjoy, there is no denying that it can help make your workout that much better. It pushes you to work harder and follow a steady rhythm, and it distracts you from the physical exhaustion you will start to feel. Most importantly, music puts you in a good mood no matter what you are doing, and that is probably the most important part of keeping up with
ny kind of workout.