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Have you ever been in this situation: You drag yourself out the door for an early morning jog, only to run out of juice a few hundred feet later. You can’t seem to find the motivation, and turn around in shame.
Increasing scientific evidence shows that one of the best ways to improve your workout is with music. These three benefits will inspire you to create your perfect exercise playlist today.
Find your motivation
In a recent study, scientists asked participants to listen to music while pedaling on a stationary bike. As they increased the tempo of the music, the cyclists pedaled faster. The riders noticed that they were working harder, but it did not bother them. Instead, they “chose to accept, and even prefer, a greater degree of effort.” An uptempo song may be just the motivation you need when your workout starts to hurt.
Lengthen your workout
According to scientists at Ohio State University, walkers who listen to music have been shown to walk up to four miles further than those without it. Are you looking to run further or add another set to your weight lifting? The right song may be all you need to keep going.
The distraction you need
Some basketball players have the tendency to “choke” during high pressure situations. Researchers in Australia gave them cheery upbeat music to listen to while they performed free throws. The distraction of the music was more powerful than the opposing team or the noisy crowd. Find a fun song to listen to and forget the pain of your exercise routine.
So how do you create the perfect playlist? According to sports psychologist Dr. Costas Karageorghis, the perfect exercise song is between 120-140 beats per minute. Lifehacker suggests using programs like iTunes that help you identify the speed of a song, and sort your music collection by tempo. You may also want to identify a “power song” to save for a big hill or a final sprint.
Try your own experiment. Go for a few runs with music and without it. Then, come back and share in the comments below how you did.