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Exploring the Power of Listening to Music During Exercise

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Music and Exercise
Credit: Ed Yourdon (Flickr) via http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Listening to Music While Exercising Can Have Powerful Effects

Are you listening to music while you work out?  If not, you're missing out and holding yourself back.  Not only does listening to music make exercising more enjoyable, but it can also make you work harder.  That's right.  

Researchers from London's Brunel Univeristy School of Sport and Education found that listening to music while exercising can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15%!  It's like a legal drug for athletes.  So what is it about music that has such a profound effect on exercise?  There are three important ways that researchers belive music influences physical performance.  First, music with a steady beat tends to make people want to move in rythym with that sound (i.e. timing your steps on the treadmill with the beat).  Second, music has a general tendency to increase the desire to move rather than sit still.  Last, and perhaps most importantly, music has the power to distract the exerciser from perception of pain or discomfort realted to physical exertion.  

Now before you go and create your workout playlist, listen up: research also suggest that the type of music you choose makes a difference.  The general rule is that as you increase the beat frequency, exercisers tend to work  harder, however, this is only true up to a certain point.  The ideal workout songs are somewhere between 120 and 140 beats per minute.  If you aren't familiar with the typical beats per minute of certain genres of music there are free apps you can download that will tell you.  Your best bet is the EDM genre, where most songs are right around 130 beats per minute.  To get you started check out "Drinking from the Bottle" by Calvin Harris (128 bpm), "Beam Me Up" by Cazzette (126 bpm) and "How We Do" by Hardwell & Showtek (130 bpm). 

Once you've made your playlist you'll want to invest in some quality earbuds to wear while you workout.  Those earbuds that came with you ipod aren't going to cut it.  I highly recommend German brand Sennheiser.  I bought my first pair a year ago and I'll never go back to another brand.  Although they're only earbuds, the sound quality is on par with most over-ear headphones and the specially designed rubber buds make them extremely comfortable.  You'll barely notice you're wearing them.  Most importantly, these things are super durable and come with a two-year global warranty.  For example, I accidentally ran my pair through an entire wash and dry cycle, and they still work as good as new.


Sennheiser CX 215 Earphones - Blue
Amazon Price: $59.95 Too low to display Buy Now
(price as of Jan 21, 2014)


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  1. "Exploring the Effects of Music on Exercise Intensity ." acefitness.org. 20/01/2014 <Web >
  2. "Music and your Workout." webmd.com. 20/01/2014 <Web >

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