Turn it up! That’s my jam!

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?



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4 Responses to Turn it up! That’s my jam!

  1. froglady froglady says:

    I discovered Jogtunes.com when I got my first ipod 6 years ago. (First generation, and I still use it!) “Dr. Bob” puts together a compilation of indie tunes and each podcast has a different theme. Prof. Josephson mentioned “fartlek” which is the Swedish term for interval training; Dr. Bob has a few of these among his podcasts. Overall the music is new and I like the minimal effort to get a playlist with varied beats-per-minute. (By the way, please be careful of your ears and the fragile stereocilia that help us hear! These suffer irreparable damage with high volumes!)

  2. Harptown says:

    Although I can see the benefit of lifting or running to a fast paced beats, I have to say that for me the best work out music is the music I love most. For me that is country music. I enjoy lifting to hip hop and even house music every so often, but what I really enjoy is singing along with the tunes im working out too. What music really does for me though is push me through work outs, especially when the last place in the world I want to be is the gym. Country music pushes me through my sets and helps me get the best work out I can possibly get.

  3. Crafting the right playlists is a critical part of my fitness. Music is a huge part of almost every aspect of my life, but I think it’s effect is most influential on my fitness motivation and rhythm. Success for me in the gym and on the roads is all about hitting the right rhythm and pushing through obstacles. My earbuds are like little support systems to help me get over those hills, through the pain and discomfort and not give up. Choosing and changing songs during the workout is also an easy way for me to gain some control over how I feel. I try to set my workout before I start, so that I don’t back off or go too hard as I start feeling various things during exercise. Therefore I am stuck doing the workout, but I can change my attitude by adjusting my music. Its very effective and very easy… I wish you could race with them!

  4. ColdWeatherCajun says:

    I do not believe that I could go to the gym without my iPod. I do not listen to metal or hard rock music for pleasure. However, when I work out I listen to high-octane, fast-paced songs. Somehow lifting just wouldn’t seem as fun without my playlist. I also have a series of “cool down songs.” I absolutely love my music. I don’t know what I could do without it when I exercise.

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