How Your Playlist Impacts Your Workout
We’ve all seen the memes. There’s a picture of a tearful woman or a sobbing Toby Maguire sandwiched between the statement, “Walked Into The Gym…Forgot My Headphones”. Just like a bottle of water, the right shoes or a moisture-wicking shirt, music is an essential part of any workout. Forgetting to bring it with you to the gym can be devastating. Often, our favourite songs are that last edge we need to power through a heavy lift or a treacherous distance run. The positive effects that music has on our workouts aren’t just imagined. It turns out we really do need that gym playlist.
According to a 2015 article from Huffington Post, there are several benefits to exercising with music.
- It enhances your mood.
Apparently, music spurs the release of mood-enhancing chemicals in our bodies which increase our pain thresholds and make the workouts more enjoyable. As far back as 2011, numerous sources reported on a study published in Nature Neuroscience that suggested music caused the release of dopamine. Dopamine release is inspired by everything from eating chocolate to falling in love. When music is involved, we get that same positive rush during our workouts.
- It distracts you from the pain.
It’s commonly reported that soldiers in combat don’t feel their injuries right away. Because they’re involved in complicated maneuvering or action plans, they’re distracted from the pain. Music does the same thing during your workout. As you attempt a massive one-rep max, your killer soundtrack helps distract you from feeling the burn. Thought, we can’t say the same for how you’ll feel the next day.
- It makes you faster.
It’s no secret to experienced runners that music helps us determine and maintain pacing. But that synchronisations is deeper than the surface. Also according to Huffington Post, our brains’ neurons start to synchronise with our music’s tempo. This synching ultimately helps us complete repetitive motions faster.
- It keeps you coming back to the gym (and living longer).
Scientific studies have shown that people who work out to music are more likely to show increases in their level of fitness and continue a regular workout program. Clearly, the more you work out, the healthier you’ll be and the longer you can expect to live.
- It channels memories of greatness.
Remember that song you were listening to when you ran your fastest half-marathon? Or when you beat your personal best in the deadlift? Whenever you revisit that song during your future workouts, your brain will automatically associate it with your previous achievements. Each time you hear the song, it’ll trigger not only positive feelings but ones of motivation, strength and power. If you want every workout to be the best, keep your milestone tracks on your playlist.
As fun as music can be, it provides some serious benefits in the gym or on the trail. From memories of greatness to more efficient pacing to overriding our pain threshold, music is the best workout partner we never knew we had.