There’s nothing worse than turning up to the gym and realising you’ve forgotten your headphones, but why exactly are we so obsessed with listening to music when we workout? Music is great at sparking emotions in us and has even been proven to affect our heart rate and breathing, so it makes sense that for maximum workout potential we should be listening to some tracks. Here are five ways music will enhance your workout next time you hit the gym with headphones.
1. It provides motivation
The right playlist can make you want to move however hard your routine might be but often our favorite songs don’t cut it when it comes to exercise. Instead many people find themselves listening to genres with fast tempos like trance or techno, which they would never usually be interested in, as that seems to be what gets them pumped for a workout. When you’re warming up you should listen to whatever helps puts you in ‘the zone’, whether that’s the Rocky theme or Rage Against The Machine.
2. It can keep the pace
The tempo and rhythm of the music you workout to stimulates the motor area of the brain as to when to move, essentially sending time signals to your brain. This means if you’re trying to keep a steady pace during a gym session you should create a playlist of tracks that follow the same pace, and try to match your speed to the song.
3. It can help you count reps
When you’re doing sets with weight lifting for example, it’s necessary to keep track of how many movements you’re doing. Counting can become tedious so instead why not try and keep your movements in time with the beats of the song. Hip hop is a great genre for this style of exercise.
4. It’s a great distraction
If you’re working out in silence your mind can often focus too much on the physical pain and strain of tough exercises, so some upbeat music is a great way to distract yourself. Not convinced? Studies have shown that by distracting themselves with music athlete’s performance increased by up to 15%.
5. It encourages you to relax
You might not associate yoga or pilates with a banging soundtrack but even when you’re stretching or cooling down after a workout music can help your mind to unwind, in turn tricking your body to the same. While you foam roll at the end of a session try playing some soft, low tempo tunes to really relax. Recovery here we come.