There is no doubt that music can have a hugely positive effect on your workout. Not only does the right type of music help you get started, it can also help you to stay motivated throughout the workout, and your favourite workout tracks can even inspire you to push harder or reach farther. You would likely feel a dramatic difference in your energy levels if you tried working out in silence.
There have been several studies showing the various positive effects music can have on our behaviour, cognition and disposition. First and foremost, when we listen to music, we tend to feel happier and more focused. This is perfect for a challenging workout early in the morning or after a day at work.
Science tells us that music triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. This is the same chemical transmitter that is released when you eat your favourite food and it plays a key role in the drive behind our reward-based behaviour.
It is clear that music is a very important competent of a great workout, but what type of music is best and how to create a workout around your favourite tracks?
Try losing the lyrics
There are some additional studies suggesting that when you lose the lyrics, you tend to be more focused. This does not mean you have to forgo all your favourite songs and only listen to classic or dance music when working out, but it is worth baring in mind if you are doing some very intense training or trying to break a personal record and need that extra bit of mental focus.
Beats and body in sync
It might seem obvious, but think about the pace of your chosen activity in relation to the music. If you are doing a fast aerobic workout for example, you will want to choose music that reflects that energy level. Something slower may start to unconsciously affect your speed and compromise results. Similarly, something too fast could cause you to do strength training with poor form and lead to injury. Do not let enjoyment of the music stop you from doing things correctly, and be sure to wear the right protective clothing for intensive routines. Getting the best compression socks from a trusted brand is a great way to stay comfortable throughout your music-driven workout.
You might be doing high intensity interval training, or another form of activity that involves sudden bursts of energy and then recovery phases. If so, you might choose to create a well-timed playlist that reflects these changes in energy level. Whatever the exercise type, you may want to bookend your timed playlist with tracks that reflect the important warm up and stretch down phases of the routine.
Genre and activity type
Certain types of music will naturally lend themselves to certain types of exercise. For many, fast-paced pop and electronic dance music tends to work very well for high energy aerobic and plyometric routines. For heavy weight training, many favour rock music because its more moderate pace reflects the controlled movements, and yet it balances this out with a very confident even aggressive style that mirrors the strength and sheer will required to push hard during those final rep ranges.
The music you love
Though some genres are favoured for different activities, the most important thing is that you choose music you love. In general, you will feel more motivated, and are more likely to dig deeper for the energy needed to finish your workout routine if your playlist is comprised of songs that you really enjoy. Just make sure you do not lose focus because you are too caught up in your favourite line or musical hook.