If there’s one thing humans across all cultures can agree upon, it’s the power of music. While taste in music varies greatly from person to person, its ability to improve mood and enhance emotions means that it’s universally regarded as somewhat of an essential part of life, from birth right up to old age.

But how might music aid in motivating you while you work out and try to reach your goals at the gym? In understanding how music improves your workout, it might help to look at the evidence we have so far – which, luckily, is plentiful, and should help to convince you to update your playlists before your next workout!

Firstly, music is a great means of distraction in all types of situations, and it can actually make you more productive.Not to be confused with the kind of distraction that causes you to procrastinate for hours while you should be working on a project or writing that 3000-word essay, music can easily be played in the background while you focus your attention on other tasks. However, it still holds the unique ability to take away – in a positive way – some of your focus, meaning your body can still work hard while your mind wanders a little. Essentially, you won’t give up as easily on a particularly rough day at the gym if you have music to distract your thoughts of wanting to quit.

The right kind of music is also directly correlated withachieving more in the gym. One study revealed what its authors consider the perfect tempo for music chosen for working out: 120-140 beats per minute. The study, conducted in 2010, concluded that music at this rate not only had the best effect on heart rate increases and pedal speeds, but it was also the most enjoyed by the participants.

You may associate particular songs or pieces of music with success or happy memories. People generally enjoy listening to music that reminds them of good times, and if you listen to music that helps you to recall the time you beat a record time when running or the time you finally managed to lose that extra weight, you’ll likely channel the memory and give yourself a positive boost of energy!

Music can also help greatly in creating new positive emotions, regardless of whether it reminds you of past experiences or not: it’s difficult to remain in a bad mood when an upbeat dance song comes on the radio. From studying for an important exam to getting through a particularly difficult gym session, music can keep you from giving up by inducing positive emotions, which are essential to working out. If you feel defeated rather than motivated after a particularly strenuous workout, you’re unlikely to want to return to the gym and pick up that fitness equipment.

Above all, music simply has the power to make you want to move! Music has inspired movement since our ancestors started making it. One study found that a particular type of music – ‘groove’, according to the researchers – possessed the remarkable ability to engage participants’ motor systems and encourage them to move, whether they were musically inclined or not. Anybody who’s ever heard a catchy song while having a quiet drink out will know the difficulty of trying to stay in their seat!

Listening to music while exercising is a no-brainer: the benefits of music for your workout are numerous and backed by scientific research. Music has been shown to enhance our mental states for exercise better than almost anything else, so put together a playlist of songs that have just the right number of beats per minute, and you’ll be helping yourself to improve your workout today!

  • Thanks to Johanna Cider 🙂