Listening to music while working out isn’t a new idea, in fact music itself has been present in all cultures as far back as 250,000 years! However how different types of music can impact performance is a topic that continues to evolve. High-energy, boutique fitness studios reminiscent of nightclubs are popping up across Canada and for some music is a driving force behind their success. So why not take a page from their book and implement it in your own workouts, who doesn’t want to maximize the return on their sweaty investment?
Various articles on the topic indicate that listening to music while being physically active is definitely a plus. According to WebMD “it's like the cheese sauce on top of the broccoli” making your work out seem easier, or in the case of broccoli, more bearable. In addition it’s said to increase concentration (blocking external or unrelated thoughts out, exchanging them for a continuous stimulus – sound), increase feelings of positivity and can reduce your perception of how hard you are working which means you’re busting your butt but aren’t letting feelings of exhaustion slow you down. We’ll take it.
Music can act as a mood booster as well. Pick your favorite tracks and play them in the car on your way to a workout to pump yourself up. The simple mood change of heading into a sweat-fest with excitement vs. dread can be as impactful as listening to great tunes throughout. On that note, let’s talk about curating a solid playlists that take you through the ebb and flow of your workouts.
Keeping it simple, a BPM (beats per minute) range of 120-140 is ideal for moderate intensity work. As you increase intensity select songs with a quicker beat that follow the increase in pace as you run or cycle for example. Lower BPM tracks will be less distracting allowing you to check in with your body more. Tracks like this work well for warm-ups and cool downs.
In short, a playlist that motivates you can get you moving and increase all the positive feels during your workout. Soundcloud, Spotify, 8tracks, and iTunes are great sources for finding music to elevate your sweat session.