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Does music help you workout?

You’re not a part of the minority if you listen to music while you work out.

There’s a peace that comes when you listening to music, and no, I don’t mean calmness or serenity but a feeling of focus. I suppose it’s more commonly called as the ‘zone.’ This is when you allow yourself to get lost into something, to just focus on that one thing.

Well guess what? This is exactly what music does when you’re working out, and yes, it has been tested and proven true.

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Good Distractions

Some may call music a distraction, and in some ways that’s exactly what it is. However, the negative connotations that usually come with the word ‘distraction’ does not apply. It’s not the kind of distraction that stops you from working out, it’s the kind that will ‘distract’ you from the exertion of the exercise.

A Professor from Brunel University, Professor Costas Karageorghis, even said that “in some instances we have seen performance benefits up to 15%.” Professor Karageorghis even said that aside from boosting performance, music also “…lowers the perception of effort.”

What this means, is that listening to music makes the effort you’re putting into your workouts fade. That doesn’t mean that music will completely erase the burn you feel when you’re near your limit, it just means that you have something else to focus on.

This is especially good if you’re the type to enjoy music in your free time. That means you can listen to the tunes you enjoy in a situation where the ‘distraction’ will actually help you not hinder you.

Motivational Tempos

This can be kind of iffy, depending on what of music it is. However, a person’s motivation has been said to change when listening to certain types of music.

A study in Sep. 28 2009 concluded that “…healthy individuals performing submaximal exercise not only worked harder with faster music, but also chose to do so and enjoyed the music more when it was played at a faster tempo.”

That might be a little hard to swallow for some, but basically 12 healthy male students were told to cycle whilst listening to a set of songs. The tempos of the songs were increased a couple of times, and the students found it not just easier but more enjoyable to listen to music whilst riding a bicycle.

A note, these students claim that the faster the better, there’s a reason for that as well. For now, just keep in mind that certain types of music might change the effect of your exercise.

For you it might not even be just the tempo, perhaps there’s a song that speaks to you. Where the lyrics motivate you to push forward.

There’s no denying that music is quite inspirational, and it applies to exercising as well.

The ‘Zone’

I mentioned this in the beginning, but music has the ability to get us into something called the ‘zone.’ This is a peaceful state of mind that allows us to focus on what we are doing.

There have actually been studies done to prove that listening to your favorite songs can help you focus more. In a study conducted by the Wake Forest School of Medicines and University of North Carolina, they found this to be true.

Music makes us feel things. Whether it be happiness, sadness, or anything in between. We tend to latch onto those ideas, those emotions and push everything else aside.

When it comes to the songs we love, the effect is even stronger. There’s no denying that those songs that we hold so dearly will put us in the mental zone where we feel like we can do just about anything.

Feeling the Beats

Just like I mentioned earlier, just listening to any kind of music isn’t enough. The kind of music you enjoy might not be the same that another person enjoys. That doesn’t mean that the song you like isn’t as effective. However, there are songs that have proven to be more effective than others.

It’s not based on specific artists or lyrics, those are more preference, but it has been said that the rhythm of the song can greatly affect how stimulated the motor area of your brain is.

The rhythm of the song is something we actually follow unconsciously, helping us move along with the music.

That also means, that the faster a song is, the better. Upbeat songs that not only uplift your spirits, but push you towards faster speeds are the best.

Those sick beats that you enjoy, the very same ones that urge your body to move, they are a great way of motivating not only you, but your body to exercise!

Pain Relief?

There had been studies that have proved music akin to pain killers.

Listening to music is known to raise people’s pain thresholds, so much so that in some cases, it can be used to reduce the need for morphine-like painkillers.

That may sound crazy to you, and honestly I can relate. However, this is a real thing. People have been able to accept more pain and or feel less pain when listening to music.

This is not something that is for everyone, music doesn’t affect everyone the same way. However, the connotations are strong. Since music has been proven to dampen the pain, then the same can easily be applied to your exercises.


Songs have a lot of power, just a single lyric can have you feeling all sorts of ways. In some cases, it’s not even about pushing yourself to work harder and or faster. Listening to music can just be about enjoying your time working out.

It’s not for everyone. If you do not like music, then it probably won’t help you in the same way that it does people who love music.

The people who can get lost into the songs that they love, these are the kind of people it helps. Most of these people have probably already been listening to music while they workout.

Not because they know it will help their workouts become more efficient, but because they love listening to their favorite songs, and sometimes having to focus on something while working out just makes the whole experience a lot more fun.

Where to find your workout music? – Spotify Workout Music  

1. Matt Kurton and Sean Blair Running with music: the case for and against https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-running-blog/2013/mar/13/running-with-music-for-against
2. Waterhouse J, Hudson P, Edwards B Effects of music tempo upon sub-maximal cycling performance. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19793214
3. Soumyaranjan Nayak Role of music in helping you focus https://www.toppr.com/bytes/music-help-focus/
4. Penny Sarchet Why music makes us feel good: It releases brain’s painkillers https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22730335-000-why-music-makes-us-feel-good-it-releases-brains-painkillers/

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