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maximize your workout with musicDo you listen to music when you work out?

Most people are interested in finding ways to make their workouts easier. Unfortunately, they tend to think this means choosing a less challenging activity. In reality, the secret to making your workouts easier just might be as close as your MP3 player. Numerous studies have shown that exercising with the right music can help you dial up the intensity, improve your stamina and even make you a little stronger.

In the beginning

The concept of working out to music isn’t exactly new. Most people think that music and physical exertion first became connected in the 1970s when dance aerobics was all the rage. Actually, music has been used for centuries to motivate people to greater physical achievements. Researchers believe that some of the earliest examples of this come from the rowers in Roman galleys. The University of Wisconsin’s Carl Foster says that the advantages of using a drum beat on Roman ships were twofold. First, it kept everyone rowing in unison. Two, the body and mind have natural inclinations to follow a tempo. The drum provided the beat, and the rowers naturally adapted to it.

Music, The Legal Drug

That principle applies to modern workouts as well. It’s a concept that scientists call synchronization or sometimes entrainment. When you hear the beat of the music, you naturally follow it. Consequently, your pace when you’re running or cycling may go up or down based on the music you’re listening to.

Costas Karageorghis from the Brunel University School of Sport and Education in London concurs. He refers to music as a “legal drug” that may increase endurance by 15 percent. What’s more, people who are enjoying music while they exercise don’t feel like they’re putting forth as much effort as those who exercise in silence. In other words, music can distract you from the effort you’re expending, making your workout seem easier.

How to Amplify Your Auditory Efficiency

This is great news for athletes of all levels. Whether you’re exercising simply for your own health or are training for a major event, you can feel the benefit of working out with music. The next question is, how can you make this phenomenon work for you?

You’ll want to start with a few songs that you enjoy. Ideally, each song would have a steady, distinctive beat that is impossible to ignore. If it’s your goal to hit certain heart rates during your workouts, then you will want to choose songs that have a similar beat structure. For instance, someone who is cycling may have a target heart rate somewhere in the range of 135 and 170 beats per minute. To help them find and maintain this heart rate, it is essential to find songs that have a similar rate of beats per minute. Crafting a playlist that includes songs for warming up and cooling down will help athletes stick to the beat and their target heart rate throughout their session.

To determine the beats per minute of a song, focus on the beat in the music. Then, looking at a clock with second hands, count the beats for 15 seconds. Multiply that number by four to determine the beats per minute in the song. It may take a bit of trial and error to get the hang of this, but it’s a simple, straightforward method that can help you hit your target heart rate during your next workout.

The more enjoyable exercise is, the more likely it is that you’ll be motivated to work out. Creating your own playlists with songs that feature the right tempo is just one more tool that can help you achieve your fitness goals. Contact My House Fitness today to learn more about what a great gym, a personal trainer and a fantastic playlist can do for your body.