When you enter any gym or workout facility around the world you’ll probably notice the loud music that’s playing over speakers right away. Music is so common in places where people regularly work out, that a silent gym would likely feel pretty strange.

While most people just think music is there to cover the sounds of workout machines, there are actually other benefits to listening to music while you exercise. By choosing your own music and using ear-buds, you may even get considerably better results from your workout.

The History of Music and Working Out

The idea that working out while listening to music could boost your performance isn’t a new one. In fact, research has been going on for over 100 years, and it all started in 1911 when a US research scientist named Leonard Ayres figured out that cyclists actually pedaled faster and worked out harder when a live band was playing music near the track.

The research has continued in recent years as sports psychologists and researchers look for ways to help athletes perform better. Scientists have concluded that rhythm may really be the important part of a song when it comes to getting more from your workout.


Why Rhythm Matters

It will probably surprise some people to know that research may show that people who work out to rhythmic music might use less energy than those who don’t while doing the same activity. According to a 2012 study at Sheffield Hallam University, cyclists who listened to music and pedaled in time to the music required seven percent less oxygen than those who didn’t listen to music at all (source:

For you, that could mean your endurance increases, allowing you to work out for a longer period of time without feeling fatigued. A seven-percent increase in your exercise time could help you reach your fitness goals much faster.


Getting Tired?

One common reason people don’t achieve their workout goals is because they simply get tired and fatigued. Most people blame busy schedules and lack of sleep, but working out while listening to music could help you to lace up those sneakers after a busy stressful day and finish your workout.

That’s because researchers believe that listening to music can distract you from acknowledging the signals your body is sending to your brain to let you know that you’re tired. Music may also distract from signals of muscle soreness, allowing you to push past minor aches and pains.

However, it should be noted that music won’t stop all responses, so you don’t have to worry about pushing yourself so hard you have a real injury. Your body will still let you know it’s tired or too sore to continue well before that point.

Music can just help you push yourself a little bit further than normal.


image courtesy of Shutterstock

image courtesy of Shutterstock

Picking Your Tunes 

Tailoring music to your particular workout is possible, but in general, you just need to pick music that’s between 120 beats per minute and 140 beats per minute. That seems to be the best tempo range according to researchers – at least when it comes to boosting your workout speed and intensity.

Choosing music that’s slower than 120 probably isn’t ideal, and anything over 140 is likely overkill and won’t really enhance your performance at all.

Another thing to consider is that music makes your workout more fun. For people who just don’t love getting on that treadmill every single day or hitting the weights three times a week, music can be enough of an incentive to actually get to your workout instead of skipping it altogether.

Working out while listening to music appears to benefit everybody, and with a simple device like an iPod or other media player and a pair of earbuds, listening to music wherever you work out is easy.

-Do you listen to music when you work out, and would you agree that it helps you perform better?

Guest post by Shannon Lochwood


  1. I tailor my music depending on the workout and it actually makes it more exciting. But this is not recommended if you’re doing a night run as you have to be more aware of the cars passing by so you have to keep you ear free from any noise.


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