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  • Writer's pictureAlexander James

Why Your Choice Of Workout Music Matters

We all know that exercise is good for us in so many ways: it gets the heart pumping, strengthens the muscles, helps manage weight, and elevates our mood. However, sometimes it can be a battle to motivate yourself to do a workout when you are busy, stressed, or feeling a bit under the weather.

One of the keys to developing a good exercise routine and sticking to the schedule is making sure that you actually enjoy it. It may take a while to work out what works for you, whether it's taking a brisk walk in the park, cycling, or running on the treadmill in the gym.

Researchers have found that another powerful way we can enhance our motivation and enjoyment of exercise is through personal music selection.

One recent study published in the International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing found that people who worked out to their own choice of music had much better outcomes than people who listened to the music playing on the gym stereo system. The study involved 183 gym-goers who were divided into two groups.

The researchers found that gym goers who listened to their own music were more motivated during exercise in terms of the effort put in and endurance. They were also in a heightened emotional state which increased their enjoyment of exercise.

When asked to reflect on how satisfactory their overall experience was, those who had full autonomy over the music they listened to reported a better quality experience.

Many people find that listening to music can relieve the boredom of repetitive actions, but of course we all have different tastes in music and so it is perhaps not surprising that we prefer to have some autonomy over the choice.

However, just what is it about music that gets us going? Some studies suggest that it is the beat and tempo of the music that is key, with a strong steady rhythm that we can fall into pace with as we pedal or cycle.

One study found that the best tempo for running on a treadmill is between 123 and 131 beats per minute (BPM), while for pedalling it is between 125 and 140 BPM. The researchers found that music with an optimum BPM both delayed fatigue and increased power and endurance levels.

Music influences mood as well: when we hear a pleasing tune, our brains release dopamine and serotonin, which are known as the ‘feel-good’ hormones. This puts us in a positive frame of mind, distracting us from physical pain and mental stresses and strains and helping us to keep going during a tough exercise session.

Finally, let’s not ignore the power of words: most of us also enjoy the lyrics of our favourite song as well as the beat and melody. Inspiring catchy songs can uplift us, giving us the mental firepower to achieve our goals and not give up at the first sign of difficulty.

So there you have it: both music and exercise play a vital role in our wellbeing, and together they really are an unbeatable combination.

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