If you exercise regularly, then you may pop in a couple of ear buds and listen to some music to help the time pass. Music is a great way to drown out the rest of the world, but it also may have some surprising benefits. Listening to music while exercising isn’t just something that adds enjoyment to the workout. In fact, there is an entire field of research surrounding the effects of music on exercise.
The concept started all the way back in antiquity. In ancient Rome, rowers would use the beat of a drum to help motivate them and keep them synchronized. The same thing applies to workouts that you engage in. We all know that music can keep us motivated and it can also help us do our exercises to a certain beat. Without music, it’s easy to slack off and lower the rate of your reps. But, with music, you can stay on beat no matter what.
Staying on beat isn’t the only benefit of exercising with music. In fact, there are some fascinating advantages to pumping tunes while pumping iron.
Reduces Effort Perception
Listening to music doesn’t actually reduce effort, but it certainly makes it seem like you’re putting in less work. Across the board, athletes have noted that they do not recognize the amount of effort they’re putting in while listening to music. In this way, it almost works as a distraction from the discomfort that exercise can naturally cause. Athletes were able to increase their stamina and endurance by as much as 15% when listening to music.
Music that has higher tempos is also ideal for increasing endurance and effort. One study looked at able-bodied individuals who rode stationary bikes for 30 minutes every day. They were all told to listen to a mix of popular songs. During some sessions, the music’s tempo was decreased by 10% and during others it was increased by 10%. Effort and the enjoyment of the music were lessened when the tempo was 10% slower. Effort and enjoyment of the music were increased substantially when the music was played at a faster tempo.
Should You Use Music During Workouts?
The answer to this question is really up to you. There are no side effects to listening to music while working out, unless you don’t have anywhere to place your MP3 player. If you want to make the most of your exercise soundtrack, be sure to use songs that are upbeat and employ the use of a consistent tempo. Classical dirges might help you relax in the bathtub afterward, but they won’t be able to really get your heart pumping.
Upbeat music can provide a distraction and help you stay synchronized with your reps. The evidence is clear that listening to music while working out will almost always improve the quality of your workout.