Music: a legal drug that is used by almost all athletes. Plus, it doesn’t have any side effects. What more could you ask for?
I have yet to see the day that I don’t pop my headphones into my ears, crank up the volume on my iPod past “deafening”, and let the sound waves take over my thoughts. I get into the weight room around 4 times a week, and each time I carry the necessary items with me: my water bottle, phone, iPod, headphones, and the playlist of champions. After working out this past week, I found myself thinking about how boring I would find weight lifting, running, bike riding or any other form of exercise that I do outside of organized practice if I didn’t have music playing at all times.
I recently read an article written in the New York Times a few years ago titled, “They’re Playing My Song. Time to Workout.” that discussed the idea that there is a science behind the results of listening to music while exercising. Dr. Costas Karageorghis, an associate professor of sport psychology at Brunel University in England, found that a song’s tempo is key to its effectiveness in motivating an individual to perform better during exercise. He suggests that the beats-per-minute of a song should be around 120 and 140 for a workout because people develop “an aesthetic appreciation for that tempo” and it also coincides with the average individual’s heart rate during exercise. Throughout the article, several athletes both professional and amateur comment on their music choices selected for exercising.
The theme of the article is that song choice, particularly the tempo or high bpm of a song, is beneficial when exercising because it allows us to coordinate our movements to the beats, distracting our minds from pain and fatigue, while motivating us to keep exercising. Some songs are more effective than others and can be tailored to fit a type of workout and its level of intensity. Richard Petty, the founder a company that has makes workout compilations for instructors and fitness enthusiasts called Power Music, remixes songs to make them more effective during exercise. The article also discusses that music is beneficial during both aerobic/cardiovascular exercise, as well as strength training in the weight room.
I could not agree more with the ideas suggested in this article! I spend way too much time on iTunes making perfect playlists to workout to. I find that I like to have songs with lower bpms toward the beginning of my playlist, and songs with increasing tempo throughout the rest of the list. Near the end, I always put a motivating song (usually an all-time favorite or a quality dubstep track) that I know will help push me to complete a workout! Music is the perfect performance enhancer! I couldn’t live without it, and it’s great that it contributes positively to the results of my exercise! What’s on your favorite workout playlist?