The Benefits of Listening to Music While Exercising

Sometimes, hitting the gym can be a chore. That’s why you’re finding ways to make your exercise a bit more exciting. How about creating a beats-driven playlist to get you pumped up in your cardio workouts?

Listening to music while working out does more than merely relieve boredom, making it feel more enjoyable. You may be surprised to find other benefits that music does to your exercise routine.

The next time you hit the gym or are about to grab your dumbbells at home, consider tucking in a pair of Air Pods, tap Spotify on your phone, and start listening to some stimulating workout tunes.

man running
Portrait of a senior man in fitness wear running in a park. Close up of a smiling man running while listening to music using earphones.

Music can help you keep pace

There are some scientific reasons why music and exercise make a perfect pair. It has something to do with the rhythm. According to Scientific American, music creates a “rhythm response,” which is the tendency for people to synchronize their movements with music. Think of using a metronome while you’re learning to play the piano. The same goes for using music while doing workouts. Moving your body to the beat seems to help it be more efficient with energy.

Some psychologists have suggested that the best tempo is between 120 to 140 beats per minute (bpm). Most commercial and rock songs are in or almost in that range; this tempo usually matches the average heart rate during a workout.

woman dancing in earphones
Moving in earphones. Young woman with amazing sport body moving and dancing in earphones

Music can elevate your mood

A study conducted by Frontiers in Psychology suggests that people listen to music to boost their mood and find self-awareness. When you’re in a good mood, you’re feeling more motivated.

man in an outdoor gym
Fitness young man doing exercises on public equipment in the park

Music can reduce stress and anxiety

Your choice of music depends on the type of exercise or fitness activity. If you’re doing yoga or some stretching, listening to soft, slow, and soothing music (preferably with no lyrics) can help you take things easy and carry the relaxing benefits with you through the rest of the day. In addition, listening to the right music can reduce stress levels.

senior man doing workout
Senior man doing gym workout with dumbbells while wearing face protective mask during Coronavirus isolation quarantine – Fitness, sport and healthy elderly lifestyle – Focus on face

Music distracts you – in a good way

Music wins your attention from the usual negative physical feelings of exercising, such as accelerated heartbeat sweating and that “worn out” and sore muscle feeling. Because music elevates your mood, it can motivate you to keep going through the usual physical discomfort.

athletic man with facemask and headphones
Male athlete exercising with hand weights in lunge position while wearing protective face mask in health club.

Music can help boost immunity

As mentioned, music has been known to improve mood and reduce stress levels. In turn, it provides a positive effect on immunity. So, no need to worry about that annoying cold hindering you from your fitness regimen!

woman doing a home workout from laptop
Beautiful young mixed race female exercising at home, online workout on laptop

Music can make you work out harder

Do you feel that extra pep whenever your favorite tunes come on? There’s a reason for that: music inspires you to bike longer, run farther, and swim longer – and you do them without even realizing it. According to Costas Karageorghis of London’s Brunel University School of Sport and Education, “Music is like a legal drug for athletes. It can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent.”

woman in exercise bike
Woman exercise in gym on bike and liste music over headphones on her head

Music gets you in the groove and inspires you to move

There’s such thing as “high-groove music” in scientific terminology! A study conducted by Brain and Cognition reveals that groove, “a musical quality that can induce movement in a listener,” excites the area of the brain that is responsible for movement, literally making you want to move.  It can be great to find some great earbuds for basketball to help you get your rhythm and focus going.

couple in earphones stretching
Mature couple stretching at park and listening to music. Athletic senior couple exercising together outdoor. Fit senior runners stretching before running outdoors.

Music helps in pain reduction

According to a 2013 study from McGill University, listening to music reportedly reduces the requirement for opiate drugs in postoperative pain. While music is not (and should not be) a substitute for pain-killing medication, it may distract you from the usual aches during workouts. Thus, you’re more likely to push through and complete your workout.

group of happy people exercising
Group of energetic people with coach dancing in gym

Music naturally boosts happiness

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that drives your brain’s reward system. Listening to music naturally boosts dopamine, resulting in feelings of happiness and well-being. At the same time, exercising and working out raise levels of serotonin, a mood-boosting neurotransmitter, so the combination of increased dopamine and serotonin do great wonders for your “happy hormones.”

sports accessories, notebook and oranges
Sport, Exercising, Equipment, note pad, flat lay, backgrounds, new year resolution, fruit

Great lyrics can be motivating

For many people, music can spell a difference between a great workout or no workout at all. And some songs remain popular for a long time for their power to motivate – remember that Rocky song, the “Eye of the Tiger”?

girl with smartphone in a gym
Active girl using smartphone in fitness gym.

Creating your workout playlist

The road to weight loss, fit body, and improved overall physical and mental health is not easy. Exercising and working out take a great deal of dedication and commitment and you’ll need something to motivate you to hit the gym or go through your home workouts every day. Music can be a great motivating factor to stay active.

With all the benefits stated above, you’ll want to build a playlist that’s long enough to get you focused midway through your workout routine. Choose tracks whose beats per minute (bpm) match the heart rate you’ll want to achieve when exercising – faster ones for increased intensity and slower ones for lighter to moderate intensity or yoga. Choose songs you have positive vibes with to maximize your mood during workouts. Get a set of good earbuds or Bluetooth speakers and a suitable holder for your smartphone or MP3 player, and get the tunes going while working out!