Why should you listen to music whilst you workout?

May 28, 2015 | By Shannan Ponton

Listening to music when you hit the gym to improve your workout isn’t exactly a new concept. But understanding how your favourite tunes enhance your exercise is a little less obvious.

Just hearing your favourite song can transport you to a headspace filled with power and passion. It can make you forget about the trying day you’ve had, bring you into the moment and help provide some clarity and focus.

It’s proven that not just listening, but controlling and creating music in time to your own workout had an awesome and improved effect. Listening to your favourite song can trick your mind into feeling less tired and help you pump out those extra reps.

Download your favourite song and make a playlist. Everyone has that go-to song that gets you “in the zone,” and there’s science to why it works. We associate certain songs with memories, often relating to the context in which we originally heard them, such as the first time you watched Rocky. Channeling that memory, or even just the emotion of the singer boosts your motivation, and has been shown to improve physical performance.

People often listen to music as a way to change their mood and find self-awareness. Listening to music allowed them to think about themselves, who they wanted to be and give them an escape from the present. No matter what happened an hour ago, you can use your tunes to help you escape negativity and power you through your workout — and you know you’ll feel great when it’s over.

The best thing to do is match the style of music with the exercise routine you’re doing. If you want to be calm and focused before a yoga class, try Jack Johnson; if you want your heart to pump faster before a marathon, try Avicii.

You can take this sports science one step further and use the BPM (beats per minute) of your music as a metronome. The faster the beat the faster you go. When the beat slows down add some resistance to keep the intensity up (on cardio machines). Another great way to use music as a training tool and motivator is to work steadily through the verse and then flat out sprint in chorus.

My favourite songs for a good sweat session are;

  1. Warm Up: Good Feeling. Flo Rida
  2. Interval Sprints: Shadow Boxer. Angels
  3. Heavy Load: Scream & Shout. Britney & Will.I.Am
  4. Intervals: Good Times. Jimmy Barnes & INXS
  5. Heavy Load: Sweet Child of Mine. Guns & Roses
  6. Intervals: Joker & Thief. Wolf Mother
  7. Bring it home: AC/DC Live. 17.5 min Version of Jail Break