Crank Up the Tunes: The Impact of Music on Exercise
A good song doesn't just move you - it can also improve your workout.

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Crank Up the Tunes: The Impact of Music on Exercise

If you have ever taken an energetic spinning class or gone on a run with your headphones, you may have noticed that the music got you going. It may have helped psych you up and pass the time more quickly. Some research shows that listening to music while exercising may help increase the speed and intensity of a workout.

Music may work to motivate you while you exercise. It can act as a distraction to the voice in your head telling you to stop. This voice can be a barrier to exercise. Experts recommend listening to your favorite playlist to help you stay inspired while you workout. But what is it about music that keeps us going?

Mood Enhancer

  • Upbeat music may lift your mood. It can help keep you feeling good about your workout.
  • It may help increase your endurance by distracting you from discomfort and negative thoughts during exercise.
  • Upbeat music may also make you feel like you want to be moving rather than sitting still.

Coordination and Synchronization

  • Some research shows that your body wants to respond to the beat of the music and naturally follow a tempo. You may want to pedal on a bicycle or move your feet to the beat of the music. It is much like tapping your toe in time with music.
  • You may respond to a faster beat in the music by increasing the intensity of your workout. A more intense workout may seem less stressful with music.

Research continues on the effects of music on exercise. But it seems that it may have a positive effect. Finding the right beat for you may help keep you going stronger for longer. It can be entertaining and encouraging.

If you are looking to beat boredom while you work out or step up your performance, try cranking up the tunes the next time you exercise and you may discover the boost you have been looking for.

Note: If you are physically inactive or you have a health condition such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy or other symptoms, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program or increasing your activity level. He or she can tell you what types and amounts of activities are safe and suitable for you.

Jennifer Mitchell contributed to this report.

By Jane Schwartz Harrison, Contributing Writer
Created on 12/17/2009
Updated on 09/12/2013
Sources:
  • American College of Sports Medicine. Ten ways to start an exercise program.
  • American Council on Exercise. Exploring the effects of music on exercise intensity.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overcoming barriers to physical activity.
Copyright © OptumHealth.
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