Music: A Key Player for Workouts

January 18, 2022

Whether you like to listen to the sound of the environment or plug in some earphones and feel like you’re the only person in the gym, this article will inform you on why your music choices can help boost your productivity during a workout, and how you can develop motivation from music.

Find Your Rhythm

Some may think it sounds ridiculous, but music has been proven to distract people from pain and fatigue, elevate moods, increase endurance and reduce perceived effort whilst working out, and it is all linked with the connection you have with it.

Connecting with music is a magical concept, and if you can achieve this whilst lifting weights, running, or any other exercise, you are likely to achieve better performances. Picture yourself running or cycling and think about the pace that occurs at. Matching your beat to the music’s beat can be something so satisfying that it inspires you to continue exercising. You will find that if you can connect to the lyrics of the music as well, you’ll feel extra motivated. Certain music apps such as Spotify have a special running section where your phone can detect your heartbeat, before matching it to songs with the same beat, allowing you to connect with the music in the most unique way.

The Science Behind the Sound

The whole connection is a psychological effect, and studies have shown that physical changes in hormone levels like serotonin can be found when listening to music. Serotonin is known as the “feel-good” hormone and can put you in a better mood before and whilst working out, helping you boost your productivity.

Studies have examined the effect of music on cyclists and runners and established the optimum beats per minute to enhance productivity. For cyclists, music within 125-140 beats per minute(bpm) allowed them to achieve their best performance. For runners, the optimum bpm was between 123 and 131bpm. 

What is the explanation for this? A logical reason as to why performance becomes enhanced with the right music is that athletes are able to keep in time with the beat of the music and can then synchronize either their strides or pedalling. Music with a high bpm is found to distract people from feeling pain during a workout, allowing them to pushout a few more minutes or a few more reps and sets. Ultimately, you as an athlete will be able to feel the right connection and can alter your music until you achieve it. 

Lyrical Link 

Selecting the songs with the highest bpm may not be your thing, neither the genre of music that these bpm’s come with. Many people prefer to connect with the artist they listen to, their emotional state, and specific lyrics in a song. In this case, the rhythm of the song may not be as important; there is just a unique connection with some songs. 

Whether it be a song linking to your past, present, or future, sometimes lyrics will motivate you to work out faster and for longer. If you have a favourite artist, or favourite songs which you can connect on a deeper level with, these are the songs for your workouts. 

Away From the Workout

Doing a workout and listening to music may feel like a detachment from the whole world, which for some can be a feeling they need more of. When you are away from working out, music can help your mental health by elevating your mood, reducing stress, improving your focus and reducing anxiety. 

If listening to music intensely at high volumes isn’t your thing, you could try putting some background music on! Studies have shown that soft, ambient music provides a calming stimulation for the mind, with rock and heavy metal giving the opposite effect.  

For focus, it’s good to listen to songs with lyrics you can relate to, to allow that connection to take place. You may also find that listening to new songs work well as you are focusing on the new beats and lyrics, before you make your decision on whether you like the song itself. 

You may find yourself focusing for a lot of time in the day, and that is where relaxation is needed mainly in the evenings. Music is a simple way of creating relaxation by releasing tension in the muscles, relieving stress and anxiety. Loose muscles lead to a loose mind! You may also find putting some quiet music on whilst drifting off to sleep helps relax your body and brain, slowing your breathing and allowing for deep sleep.

Ultimately, music can be an essential piece of your time before, during and after a workout as it can really inspire you and help you focus, leading to greater productivity throughout your whole day.