Every time you walk into the gym, you can’t help but notice that everyone is wearing headphones. Why? Listening to music is a fantastic way to pass the time while you’re working up a sweat, but music is more than just a distraction during exercise. There’s science behind your favorite workout playlist.
Studies have explored music’s effect on movement, probing at everything from the influence of genre to tempo to lyrics. Music triggers the release of pleasant and painkilling chemicals (such as dopamine) in your brain, according to an article in New Scientist. These chemicals can increase your pain threshold and make your workout feel more enjoyable.
Music and performance
Music can even improve performance results. In a study published in the journal Sports Medicine–Open, researchers evaluated the workouts of 34 patients over three months. One of the groups worked out with music; the other didn’t. In the end, the group with music worked out an average of 28 percent longer.
“Music is quite motivating for people like me, who are moderately active but not elite athletes,” says Jeanette Bicknell, Ph.D. and author of Why Music Moves Us. “It helps you not focus on the muscle strain and fatigue and pain you might be feeling. It allows you to push past what you perceive to be your limits.”
A study in the Journal of Sports Sciences measured the amount of time that study subjects could hold weights while listening to motivational music, just rhythm or no music at all. The study found that participants held the weight “significantly longer” while listening to music than while listening to rhythm or nothing. This is why, when you’re working out, you kick your pace up a notch or push for that extra set when Metallica (or whatever artist really pumps you up) pops up on your playlist. Plus, updating and shuffling your playlist can give you even more energy whenever a new song plays.
The Gold’s Gym app GOLD’S AMP™ was designed to provide motivating cardio and bodyweight workouts led by expert Gold’s Gym Coaches, and harness the scientifically proven power of music.
Each workout features a recommended custom playlist, but users can also make their own choices from 40 musical genres and thousands of DJ mixes. And if the type of music isn’t as important as the tempo, the app’s selections are all BPM (beats per minute) enhanced – so, for example, you can make a running playlist in which every song has the same beat and helps you keep your pace.
Whatever you choose, you’ll get a playlist and coach-led workout to give you that needed boost. So, put on your headphones and have a great workout!