Listening to music while exercising doesn’t just relieve boredom — it can help improve the quality of your workout by increasing your stamina and putting you in a better mood.*
In particular, music that is motivational or synchronized with your exercise is shown to have physical and psychological effects.**
When a song has a strong, steady beat, for example, you can pedal or run to the beat of that music, which tends to feel satisfying and may inspire you to exercise more. The lyrics or catchy rhythm of motivational music inspires you to exercise longer or work harder during your exercise routine.
According to Scientific America, “For some athletes and for many people who run, jog, cycle, lift weights and otherwise exercise, music is not superfluous—it is essential to peak performance and a satisfying workout. Although some people prefer audio books, podcasts or ambient sounds, many others depend on bumpin’ beats and stirring lyrics to keep themselves motivated when exercising.”
Research reported on by the Huffpost has shown that music can make people less aware of their exertion which can boost performance by up to 15%. Music puts you ‘in the zone’ to perform better, and music with a fast rhythm can make you work harder (although too fast is not good) and it is suggested that songs between 120 and 140 beats per minute have the maximum effect on moderate exercise. A steady beat can also help you keep pace when running or weightlifting. Plus, music can elevate your mood and makes you want to move as the brain gets excited and this induces movement in the listener.
So it is safe to say that exercising to music is a good idea and will most likely increase your performance while also making the experience more fun!
Links and reference
* Karageorghis, C.I., Priest, D.L., Williams, L.S., Hirani, R.M., Lannon, K.M., & Bates, B.J. (2010). Ergogenic and psychological effects of synchronous music during circuit-type exercise. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 11(6), 551-559.
** Karageorghis, C.I., & Priest, D.L. (2012). Music in the Exercise Domain: A Review and Synthesis (part II). International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 5(1), 67-84.