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The Positive Effects of Working Out with Music


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I’m sure we’ve all been in this position before at some point during our workouts:

It was ten minutes until the end of class and I felt like I was starting to reach my limit. My legs were like jelly and I was feeling physically drained. I’m still quite new to this phenomenon known as spinning (this was only my third class – you can also read about my first experience) and I thought there was no way I’d make it to the end of our forty-five minute session.

But then the song changed, the tempo increased, and I felt a huge change in myself – it was what some might call a ‘second wind’.

I don’t know what causes this ‘second wind’ in other people, but for me, it’s always the start of a new song on my playlist. As long as it’s one I really like, it helps me push through whether I’m running, lifting, and now spinning.

There have been plenty of studies about the benefits of listening to music while exercising. One reports an increase in endurance of 15% compared to those who ran without audio accompaniment. Another showed that cyclists on stationary bikes cycled faster and pushed themselves harder if they listened to an upbeat song (here’s the paper written about the study) versus one 10% slower in tempo.

These conclusions definitely back up what I know about my own exercise habits. Personally, I am far more energized listening to music than if my iPhone is dead and I have to workout without it.

This is the song that got me going again yesterday (Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO). It’s not a band I particularly like or make a point of listening to, but the track itself is one of my favourites for working out at the moment.

There’s some great examples of differences in tempo for a music n00b like me in this Healthy & Fit Magazine article, including suggestions for creating your own workout playlist.

Do you find listening to music gives you a ‘second wind’ or makes you work harder?

Check out this list of the 52 best workout songs to make you ‘bigger, faster, and stronger’ if you’re a man (apparently). Are any of your favourites on there?

10 thoughts on “The Positive Effects of Working Out with Music

  1. Music makes loads of difference! I get in the zone and have such a better and longer workout :)

  2. Spinning would be a nightmare without the music, right??? So would Zumba, of course…and I can’t even imagine going for a run without my iPod – I have no idea how those people that run in silence do it!

  3. I love my workout music.. in fact when I start avoiding my workouts I know it’s because I’m sick of my music, not the workout, lol!

  4. I HAVE to have workout music. I can’t do it otherwise, seriously. Now that I have spotify on my phone (totally worth the $10 a month) its even better because I never run out of good music!

    • I’m going to have to look into that once we’ve moved. I’ve heard of Pandora, too, but I think it’s only available in the US? I don’t know how it compares to Spotify. I do love Spotify on my computer though!

  5. I’ve got to go with Lady Gaga. Her songs are so upbeat that it’s hard to have a slow work out listening to her music! I also like Magic System. They are a group of guys who are from Africa but sing in French. Their fast paced music is awesome to listen to!

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