Ever wonder why so many people pop in their ear buds as soon as they get to the gym or head out for a run? Of course, most people find it enjoyable to listen to music almost anytime, as long as they can control the playlist. But there are actually reasons that go beyond just your desire to hear the latest tunes that make music and exercise a perfect combination.

Here are 3 reasons to turn up those tunes (but not too loud!) when you work out:

Music can boost your mood and motivation.

We all associate certain songs with specific memories or emotions. That’s why some songs can really get us going, making us more motivated to work out or even improving physical performance. Music also gives us a chance to focus on things that make us feel happy, strong and empowered.

Music can make exercise more enjoyable.

Music can be distracting, making exercise feel easier and more enjoyable. You’ll pay less attention to how hard you’re working, how long you’re exercising or how much fatigue you’re feeling. One study showed that listening to music during high-intensity interval training made intense intervals more tolerable. The study was done at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and focused on how 20 physically-active volunteers reacted to a grueling form of sprint interval training while listening to music. Participants rated their experiences more favorably than most would rate this type of intense workout. It was a small study and doesn’t carry a lot of scientific weight, but it backs up other research showing that listening to music while working out can make the experience more pleasant.

Music can maximize your effort.

Research has shown that people generally work harder when listening to faster tempo music. A faster beat can encourage you to get your heart beating faster, but you don’t want the music to be too fast. The best range to be in is 120-140 beats per minute (bpm). The goal is to match the tempo of the music to your desired heart rate, depending on what type of activity you are doing. It’s also a good idea to choose a few slower tempo songs for your warm-up and cool-down, in the 80-90 bpm range.  You can find out the bpm for your favorite songs by checking online.

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/26/well/move/how-music-might-improve-your-workouts.html?_r=0

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/exercise-and-music#1

http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/how-music-can-enhance-your-workout

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/01/why-exercise-workout-music-playlist_n_4173931.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27748159

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19793214

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23660433