When it comes to workout accessories, there’s no shortage of options for making your exercise routine more productive, more focused, or just more fun. Sometimes all you have to do is find your favorite playlist and press play.
But if you’re looking for the one accessory that can accomplish all three of those goals and more, look no further than your favorite music-playing device. Adding harmony to your workouts can result in amazing payoffs. Here are just a few of them.
Press Play and Find Your Motivation
Fitness headphones can do more than take the edge off – paired with the right music, they can actually induce you to move more freely.
Research supports the notion that human beings have a natural inclination not to remain still when exposed to a compelling beat. Studies also point to a link between music and inspiration. Most people have at least a couple songs in their collections that summon powerful memories or imagery connected to values such as determination to meet goals or persistence in the face of adversity.
Use this to your advantage by creating playlists of your most toe-tapping, inspirational songs and reserve the best ones for your toughest workouts.
Give Your Endurance an Edge
A great training soundtrack can do more for you than just keep you motivated. Listening to music you love actually stimulates your brain’s endorphin production, which can help you increase your endurance by as much as 15 percent. The right auditory stimulation can engage your thoughts so powerfully that it distracts your mind from focusing on exertion, allowing you to push past the point where your brain would normally be screaming to quit.
Not surprisingly, the songs with the greatest positive effect tend to be upbeat numbers. Tunes that are in the range of 120-140 beats per minute give your brain plenty to focus on without overwhelming it; more than that, and music’s benefits start to disappear.
Set Your Pace
The intensity and cadence of your tunes have other effects as well.
For example, you can tap into your primal response to musical rhythms to help you take your workout up a notch. Choose a selection of songs with a slightly faster tempo than the rate at which you currently exercise, and go for it. This approach is one way to incorporate melodies not as background noise, but as an integral element of your fitness regimen.
To get the most out of marrying music with your workout, get the two working in tandem – don’t just choose pieces that fit with the movements you plan to do, but also allow some of your top picks to inspire elements of your fitness routine. Studies show that this is one of the most effective ways to integrate music and exercise.
Free Your Hands, Unburden Your Mind
The last thing you want from your workout is the hassle of figuring out how to avoid entangling yourself in your headphone cords. If you’re committed to utilizing music as a powerful resource to support your fitness, invest in a great pair of wireless headphones. Be sure to consider comfort and mobility as well as sound quality. If your training routine involves a great deal of movement, traditional models may deliver better sound, but may be too difficult to keep secure; earbuds may be a better option.
Also, think about whether you’ll need to use your headphones with glasses or a helmet. In order to get all the benefits a workout soundtrack has to offer, you need a reliable, safe sound source that you don’t have to think about once you’ve put it on.
If you find yourself plodding through your workouts or dreading hitting the gym, music may give you the boost you need to turn things around. The right approach to designing your training soundtrack can take your fitness routine from dreary to exhilarating.