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Get pumped: Science has proven the benefits of workout playlists

Written by Matt Westenburg

With more than 18 years of experience as a certified public accountant, Matt has helped companies develop & validate business models, raise capital and provide management expertise. He enjoys working with entrepreneurs who are passionate about achieving their goals and bettering the community. He was voted the Silicon Prairie “Service Provider of the Year” and has been recognized multiple times for his contributions to the local entrepreneurial community.

Your pump-up playlist might actually be improving your workout. Whether you’re running, walking, lifting, cycling, swimming or participating in any other form of activity, music can improve your exercise. Many people refuse to workout without music, and not just radio music, but your music. Personalized playlists streamed on portable devices through sound-proof headphones are as much a part of the workout as the activity itself.

Music generates an emotional response

Consider the emotions and memories you associate with a song before adding it to a workout playlist. Most songs don’t have much meaning attached to them. The ones that do generate an emotional response, however, can make or break your workout by either boosting your motivation or crushing your momentum. Create multiple song lists to match your goals and think about what kind of workout you’ll be doing with each playlist. Intense, lifting songs might be different from your cardio music, which changes when you switch to stretching.

An exercise playlist provides extra motivation and boosts your mood. These emotions can translate into increased endurance as you relate to the strong feelings in the songs.

Music helps you get in the rhythm

Fitness and music experts agree that two of the most important aspects of workout music are the tempo and rhythm response. Tempo is music word to describe the speed of a song and how fast the beat plays. Rhythm response is our reaction to a song. It’s how a song influences us to dance or move and whether the song encourages us to get excited or calm down.

Studies suggest that a majority of workout music consists of hip-hop songs at 120 beats per minute (bpm). Popular songs that fall into this category are Lady GaGa’s Just Dance and Dynamite by Taio Cruz. This helps people setting into a steady rhythm throughout their workout, which can lead to better efficiency with your movement. Runners tend to move a little faster with songs at 160 to 180 bpm, but research indicates that beats higher than 145 bpm don’t necessarily increase motivation.

Music offers a distraction

Music as a distraction during your workout can help you push yourself. If you don’t notice how tired, bored or weak you feel, then you will be able to keep going and get the most out of your exercise. An exercise playlist provides extra motivation and boosts your mood. These emotions can translate into increased endurance as you relate to the strong feelings in the songs. Your workout playlists can keep you focused and in the zone, so you’ll be ready to go the extra mile.

The right playlist can help you pump-up your fitness or cool-down after your workout. Science has proven that music is an effective way to get the most out of each workout. Next time you hit the gym, turn up the volume and turn on your inner beast mode.

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