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Music: Your Workout's Stress-Relieving Sidekick

minute read

What You Need To Know

Unleash the power of music in your workout routine. Elevate your exercise, boost mood, and manage stress with personalized playlists curated by the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness fitness team.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, pressures can easily build up, weighing us down. Whether it's the rush of deadlines, the juggling of personal responsibilities, or the constant demands of daily living, these challenges can take a toll on both our physical and mental well-being. One outlet that many use to help deal with these challenges is exercise. From yoga to strength training, millions of people engage in physical activity daily, with benefits ranging from improved health to a heightened sense of well-being. Yet, in the pursuit of a more effective workout and a means to cope with these pressures, one powerful ally stands on top: music.

Music has a unique effect on both our emotions and body. While slow-tempo music can help us feel more relaxed by decreasing our heart rate, fast-tempo music has been linked to an increase in concentration. A study done by The Journal of Positive Psychology has even shown an improvement in mood and an increase in happiness in those who listen to upbeat music. When it comes to working out, the right music can make all the difference in how we feel and perform. Have you ever noticed how your favorite song can instantly boost your mood? The same principle applies to exercise.

AdobeStock_353229265Music can not only make your workout more enjoyable but also more effective. Research has shown that listening to music while exercising can improve your performance by increasing your endurance and motivation. According to an ACE article, music serves as a distraction from pain and physical discomfort during a workout, ultimately improving exercise intensity and durability. By listening to their favorite songs, people can focus less on their breathing and fatigue, making them perceive the activity as less taxing. Music has also been linked to helping individuals maintain pace. An article by Scientific American suggests that music creates a “rhythm response”, a tendency in people to synchronize their movements with music. One study done in 2012 concluded that participants who synchronized their cycling movements to music required seven percent less oxygen to perform the same work compared to cyclists who did not synchronize their movements with background music.

Apart from the physical aspect, music can have a profound impact on your overall well-being. An Oxford Academic study showed that participants who listened to music they deemed enjoyable had higher levels of serotonin, commonly known as the “feel-good” hormone. Exercise itself is a great way to boost your mood and energy levels, and when you mix it with music, you create a powerful combination. One of the world’s leading experts in sport and exercise psychology, Costas Karageorghis, once said that music is “like a legal drug for athletes.” Using music can almost feel like a cheat code to having a better workout, which in turn, will also result in us feeling better.

To maximize the benefits of your workout and enhance your overall well-being, it’s vital to choose music that YOU like. Picking songs to work out to is all up to you – and really depends on what type of exercise you choose. Since it has been shown that matching your tempo to that of a song will help with your performance and stamina, choosing songs with specific tempos can seriously elevate your workout. Those who opt for yoga will probably find that songs with a slower tempo, around 60 to 90 BPM (beats per minute), work better, while those who prefer higher intensity workouts like running or cycling, should aim for faster tempo music, at around 140 to 170 BPM.

Too busy to add the task of finding songs for your workout? No need! The fitness team at CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center has curated a selection of playlists for you to choose from.

Looking for a slower and gentler workout? Perhaps yoga or Pilates? Check out AHWC’s Fitness Group Exercise Manager, Trevor Cassidy’s playlist.

Going for a run? Try out AHWC’s Fitness Specialist, Karina Varner’s playlist.

Looking to get the most out of your HIIT workout or just get super pumped while hitting the weights? Look no further than AHWC’s Fitness Assistant General Manager, Tim Holan’s playlist.

Ready for a great workout? Good, that’s music to our ears!