Workout Music: Does it Really Work?
Do you feel like you get a better workout when you pop your earbuds in at the gym or while on a run?
Plenty of people have their own playlists that keep them moving and grooving during a workout, but if you’ve ever wondered whether that endurance boost is all in your head, keep reading to learn more about how listening to music impacts exercise quality. If you haven’t found your perfect playlist quite yet, don’t worry, you’ll even find some suggestions at the end of this post.
The science behind music’s influence on your workout
According to science, music really does have a positive impact on your workouts.
Studies have found that music can act like a natural pain reliever
, and can even help you move faster. That’s because listening to music can release dopamine and opioids, two types of brain chemicals that help boost your mood, lessen pain, and make you feel less tired.
Dr. Daniel Levitin is a neuroscientist and author of This Is Your Brain On Music
, and he explained to the Huffington Post that, “Either music acts as a distractor (and distractors are known to modulate pain levels — this is why combat soldiers don’t always realize they’ve been shot until after a busy maneuver is over) or music acts as a mood enhancer (because the release of endogenous mu-opioids and other mood-enhancing chemicals raises the pain threshold).”
Does music increase athletic performance, too?
Those helpful brain chemicals aren’t the only fitness benefit that music brings to the table (or the gym, or the trails.) Your brain can also get in sync with the tempo of music. That’s why certain types of music really do help you run better, because that synchronization can make repetitive moves, like running or lifting weights, happen at a faster pace as your brain works to help your body keep up with the tunes.
A study published by Sports Medicine-Open
even found that cardiac patients who used music playlists with tempo-pace synchronization had the most physical activity when compared to two other groups. The difference was dramatic: they worked out, on average, for 261.1 more minutes every week.
The best workout playlists
If the science behind working out to music has you ready to find your next playlist, you’re in luck. Here are some of the best workout playlists that have been curated by other fitness lovers: