Science Says: Turn Up Your Music To Get Fit

Do you ever feel like all you can think is "meh" when it's time to exercise? Your mind tells you to run faster and lift heavier, but your body just isn't getting the memo — as soon as you step foot in the gym, you're ready to do an about-face.

If this sounds like something you've experienced, chances are you've fallen into the dreaded "fitness slump."

But here's a little secret: The solution to your problem may be as simple as just putting on your headphones and playing some music.

Think about it. We've all seen that guy or gal in the gym with the bangin' body, strutting around confidently, totally in the zone during his or her workout. With headphones securely in place, he or she warms up on the stationary bike, hits the free weights and pull-up bar, then it's off to the treadmill.

As you watch from the sidelines, all you think is, "how does this person have so much energy?!"

I'll tell you how: it's the music!

For many people, music can act as a "performance-enhancing drug." If you follow suit by throwing on some headphones and pumping the volume, you could also experience the following positive effects during exercise.

Music helps you feel stronger and perform better.

Ever struggled with workout fatigue, but then felt an insane burst of energy by putting on an energetic song? That increase in energy isn't all in your head.

Surveys have found that when exercisers increase the volume of their workout music, they also report a boost in strength during weight-training sessions. Researchers have also found that music can help athletes perform better: basketball players prone to "choking" under pressure were able to sink significantly more free throw shots if they listened to music.

Music helps you exercise longer.

If you suffer from exercise ADD, you know how painfully boring exercise can become if you're not fully stimulated. Your body goes through the motions, your mind wanders and all you can think is, "when will this be over?!"

Fortunately, in the case of exercise ADD, music is one very easy and effective way to shake boredom and make exercise more engaging. A Brunel University study found that when exercisers listened to music, they were able to boost their endurance by 15 percent.

Music helps speed up recovery.

Rest and recovery are important aspects of fitness, which is why it's often advised that you cool down after exercise. That said, cooling down does include more than just stretching and foam rollers.

A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that athletes who listened to music during rest were more likely to recover faster even after strenuous workouts, which ultimately meant these same athletes were able to exercise more frequently without the increased risk of injury.

So, how do all the benefits of music sound to you?

  • Better performance.
  • Increased endurance.
  • Speedy recovery.

So next time your setting a workout playlist before breaking a sweat, remember these few things (in addition to all the benefits of listening to music while working out!):

1. Be sure to fully charge your player and set your playlist in advance. There's nothing more annoying than being mid-workout when your batter dies. Also, having a playlist ahead of time will allow you to jump right into your routine without wasting time fiddling with your player.

2. When selecting songs for your playlist, opt for up-tempo songs with 120 and 140 beats per minute. Research has shown that 120-140 bpm is the tempo sweet spot for maximum positive effect on exercisers.

3. Last but not least, keep your playlist fresh and funky by regularly rotating and updating your music. Look into apps like Pandora and iHeartRadio for awesome workout music and other cool options that let you personalize your playlists to the tunes you love.

What songs are on your workout playlist? Let me know in the comments below!

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