BGRW: Why Music Improves Your Workout

Shannon Farrell
beautygirlrunningworld.jpg (Slideshow)

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These days you rarely see someone outside enjoying the fresh air without headphones in their ears. I love heading outside and listening to the birds chirp and the wind blow (I am a country girl at heart). But when I go for a run it’s an entirely different story. I rarely leave the house for a jog without my iTunes playlist.

The 3-Second Rule Is Legit

It isn’t that I can’t go 45 minutes without music. Honestly, I find that it improves my run. The beat of the music keeps me motivated, whether it’s fast or slow. And on a long run, music keeps my attention. It can get a little boring when you go on a solo run for more than an hour.

Now we don’t have to feel guilty about our iPod obsessions because new research proves that running does improve your workout. Dr. Costas Karageorghis from Brunel University in West London said in his latest book, Inside Sport Psychology, that listening to music while running can boost performance by up to 20 percent. It also reduces a runner’s perception of effort by 10 percent by distracting you.

beautygirlrunningworld.jpg (Slideshow)

Photo: Getty Images

However, the benefits of listening to music decreases with the level of intensity of the run. When you cross the anaerobic threshold, which is at about 70 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, the music is less effective.

I find this interesting because, for me personally, I find that the faster I run, the more I need the music. When I do sprints, I love listening to an upbeat techno song to really get myself moving. And if that is not scientifically proven, well that’s alright because it’s about achieving your goals – not how you get there.

For a long run I usually listen to a mix of fast and slow songs, all with a motivational theme to get me pumped. For interval work or a tempo run, I stick to fast songs. Here’s a list of my top 10 get-me-motivated tunes:

1. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen
2. Dancing On My Own by Robyn
3. Help, I’m Alive by Metric
4. Pump It Up by Girl Talk
5. We Found Love In A Hopeless Place by Rihanna
6. Mr. Know It All by Kelly Clarkson
7. Part of Me by Katy Perry
8. Raise Your Glass by Pink
9. Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga
10. Countdown by Beyonce

What jams do you listen to when working out?

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