How music can have a positive effect on exercise

Not in the mood for working out? An earful of the good stuff might be all you need for motivation. Despite the best intentions, it’s not always easy to be 100 percent motivated when it comes to exercise, even after putting on your gym kit. Perhaps you’ve had a bad day, the weather isn’t great or you’re feeling fatigued from a long day at work. Whatever the reason, sometimes we just need a bit of help to remind us why we’re exercising in the first place, and that it’ll all be worth it when those endorphins hit later.

Something that can really help get you pumped for a workout is music. Turn the volume up on some banging tunes and you might find the uptempo thumping in your ears was all the motivation you needed.

But how does this work – is it psychosomatic? Well, according to science, there are some specific reasons why music can help motivate us to workout or at least give us the boost we’re needing half way through. Here’s how music can have a positive influence on your exercise, according to science.

Music can make you work harder

There have been countless studies demonstrating a link between music tempo and exercise performance. Take the 2010 study by the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences in which scientists noticed that cyclists tended to work harder while listening to faster-paced music. The researchers found that speeding up the music program increased distance covered, power and pedal cadence.

A similar study that looked at the effect of music on the selection of treadmill speed found that while listening to fast-paced music, participants increased their pace and distance travelled without becoming more tired.

Music can keep you going longer

Not only can some motivating music give you the boost you needed to exercise with more power, but research by the International Journal of Physiology, Pathophysiology and Pharmacology found that music enhanced the length of physical performance during exercise. In a study of 25 males and 25 females, researchers found that music increased the duration of exercise significantly both in males and females of 19-25 years of age.

Music can regulate pace and regimen

Good news for those who find it hard to stick to momentum while exercising: research recently published by Sports Medicine Open showed that listening to music while working out can help regulate and maintain an exercise pace and regimen.

The researchers found that the patients who used the music playlists with tempo-pace synchronisation showed the greatest increase in their total physical activity of the three groups – pushing themselves to work out for an average of 261 more minutes than the other patients each week.

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