Musical Exercise

From the Roman rowers in the days of old to the modern-day exercise playlists we use to run and lift weights to, people have traditionally exercised to music. What makes music such a great addition to a great workout? It keeps your tempo consistent and provides a natural form of distraction, in addition to just being fun.

Exercise’s Impact on Athletic Performance

In a study conducted by Beisman in 1967, he found that male and female children in grades 1-6 learned skills like catching, throwing, and dancing better to the rhythm. Beisman also noted that the students found learning said skills were more enjoyable when performed with music.

Music’s impact on perceived performance by researchers again in 1988, where 70 college students exercised, then rated their perceived performance. 97% of students who exercised while listening to music felt that the music had an impact on their performance.

What Tunes Should You Listen To?

If you’re getting ready to exercise, health gurus recommend listening to music that has between 90-100 beats per minute (BPM.) However, if you have a song that gets you in the mood, researchers suggest listening to that song instead of a song with a certain BPM. If you’re heading into a hard workout, consider songs with a steady bassline– researchers have connected bass to feeling powerful, something important if you’re planning on working.

For stretching or yoga, researchers recommend you listen to a song between 100 and 110 bpm. For other types of exercise, exercise gurus suggested that you listen to a song with around 130 to 140 BPM. After approximately 140 BPM, you hit a “ceiling” and music’s effect on your performance declines. If you match your tempo to the BPM of the music, the music acts as a distraction.

However, some tried and true songs work regardless of BPM. Shannon Cook, who works as a trends expert at Spotify, says that expert researchers that have worked with her say “Eye of The Tiger” is the perfect song to work out to. Other songs include “In Da Club” by 50 Cent and “We Will Rock You” by Queen.

Women also tend to move in time to the beat when they exercise, so pop songs with a consistent rhythm tend to work better for them.

Are there any songs you recommend when you exercise? Do you have any ideas about why music helps you work out better? Leave a comment letting us know what you think!

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