Impact of Music on Your Exercise Routine

The origin of music dates back to the BC era. Ancestors to modern humans had the ability to vocalize and control pitch and may have even created rhythm by clapping hands or other objects together. We may not know what music was used for early on, but we do know now that music is tied to emotion, and emotion impacts many things. Later on, people started to use a rhythmic pattern to complete projects at work or at home. Once a rhythmic pattern was created, they were better able to complete their projects quicker and with more enjoyment. But how is this related to my exercise routine you may ask?

In 2007, the use of headphones and portable audio players was banned from any official races held by the USA Track and Field governing body. They banned music partly for the reasoning that it would it would impede competition and give a competitive edge to some runners.  As you can image, this did not go over well. The runners objected and the ban has since been modified. The runners knew they needed music to successfully and happily complete race day. But why?

Music allows us to escape into another world. While your body is becoming fatigued from exercise, you are transported into another world separate from your body. Music increases your focus. The rhythmic and repetitive nature of exercise allows us to create a zone or a focus that pushes us to continue. Music perfects that focus or zone by creating an even deeper rhythmic pattern and an enjoyment while listening to it. Music creates emotion, and emotion pushes us through the most difficult task.

Our Suggestion

What type of music you should listen to while exercising is of course a personal preference. But, we do have some suggestions. Some similarities tend to lean toward a faster or uplifting type of music. See below for some guidelines on song selections based on beats per minute (bpm).

  1. Power walking: approx. 137–139 bpm
  2. Running: approx. 147–169 bpm
  3. Cycling: approx. 135–170 bpm

In summary, definitely add music to your current program or try to increase your beats per minute to increase your adherence and enjoyment of your exercise selection. It's an inexpensive and easy change to your current exercise routine. And happy workouts lead to happier post-workouts! Enjoy!



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