Should You Listen to Music When You Workout?

A new report from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, which reviewed nearly 140 studies on music’s effects on exercise, suggest that you should throw on the tunes for an overall better workout.

Researchers used existing studies that included about 3,600 people, some dating back as far as 1911. They found that listening to music during physical activity affected not just performance, but other factors such as oxygen use, and the level of enjoyment you get from exercise.

Per MindBodyGreen: “They looked at sport-related activities and exercise routines in relation to music but left out things like dance, which usually involves music already.

Not only was music found to strengthen positive feelings during exercise, but it also improved oxygen consumption, which sums up both a more efficient and enjoyable workout.

Peter Terry, Ph.D., dean of graduate research and innovation at the University of Southern Queensland says, ‘No one would be surprised that music helps people feel more positive during exercise, [but] the fact that music provided a significant boost to performance would surprise some people. And the fact that music was shown to improve physiological efficiency would certainly raise eyebrows.’”

As for the best kind of music for exercise, the research suggests that it depends on your goals. For example, slow-tempo music may be best for longer-distance running as it can help maintain a slower heart rate. For something like HIIT or sprints, music with higher BPMs will support a higher heart rate.

That said, the recent report indicated that faster music is the best for working out overall. Out of the 13 distinct emotions that the researchers found that music can evoke, the one that best promotes better workouts is “energized or pumped up.”

To learn more about workout playlists and wellness trends in the media world, Spotify recently released a report on its 54 million workout playlists.