Many gym bunnies enjoy listening to music while they work out and the benefits of working out to music will make you feel even better after a session at the gym. Is it merely a case of distracting you and making a tough workout more palatable? Music has long been recognised as a beneficial accompaniment to exercise, and many studies have examined the effect it has on performance and efficiency. Whether you're new to exercise, or want to up your game, here's what turning up the volume can do for you in terms of the benefits of working out to music.
One of the best benefits of working out to music is that you feel good. You might think that you need to be focused rather than emotional during a workout. The key is to get the right emotions going. Think of how we all like to listen to calm music when we want to relax. Naturally, the opposite holds true when you want to exercise. Music with a fast tempo will psych you up and encourage you to move faster. If you're thinking of signing up at a gym, check out the kind of music they play. If you hate the music, even if the tempo is right, you'll find it more of a challenge to commit to your exercise routine.
A good workout is hard going. If it wasn't, there would be no benefits and no point in bothering! Listening to music helps you shift your focus from the exertion onto something more enjoyable, as music is associated with pleasurable emotions rather than the negative ones caused by physical pain. These benefits are outweighed by the effort of a high-intensity workout, though, so stick to a low- or medium-intensity workout in order to gain the most from your musical accompaniment.
Music may or may not synchronise with your workout. The advantage of choosing music that does is that it acts as a "cheerleader" while you exercise. Studies suggest that this makes exercise more effective, allowing you to use less oxygen and therefore making cardio more efficient. This has proven to be an effective technique for professional athletes, and although you won't reach their levels of fitness, you can certainly apply the same technique to benefit your own exercise sessions.
It isn't enough just to exercise. You have to exercise properly to gain any benefit from your workout. In fact, failing to use the right techniques could lead to injury. Listening to music at the same time allows you to improve your motor skills, including coordination and balance, which results in a more effective, safer and more satisfying workout.
All these benefits come together and lead you into a state where you are motivated, energised and focused. This bodes well for your exercise session as it increases your ability to gain the most from your workout. It's important to choose the right music. You want to be distracted from the exertion, but not so much that you lose focus and concentrate more on the song than on your workout.
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