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Music Can Motivate Your Workout

January 19, 2017 by Normand Richard, Certified Exercise Physiologist

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Music to motivate your workout

Music and physical activity have gone hand-in-hand forever. Ancient civilisations danced to the beat of drums and many armies have marched to rhythmic songs throughout history. Things haven’t changed! Nowadays, there are podcasts with exercise routines and fitness clubs with live DJ’s. Personally, I have several gigabytes of music on my smartphone for my workouts. Here are tips and considerations for listening to your favourites songs the next time you work out.

Use Music Safely While Exercising

Listening to loud music when you are active outdoors robs you of a key sense: hearing. Your hearing lets you hear cars, someone coming up behind you, and other sounds that warn you of potential danger. If you are going to use music outdoors, consider playing it at a low volume or only using one ear bud so you can still hear what is going on around you. Listening to music when cycling is not recommended.

Keep in mind that listening to music that is too loud for too long can hurt your ears. Blasting your favourite tunes when the going gets hard is okay, but don’t overdo it. Think about others around you when setting your volume. Although you enjoy your “80’s pop” playlist, the person on the treadmill beside you may not!

Try Podcasts

If the intensity of your workout is light to moderate, most people can handle an “information or interview” type podcast to pass the time. I find that for higher intensities, fast music helps. You can download interval-type podcasts that guide you through a workout, with higher tempo music during the hard parts and slower music in the easier parts. Online audio platforms like iTunes, Sound Cloud or Google Play are places to look for these.

Types of Music for Your Workout

For indoor workouts, I find listening to music I enjoy key. Interestingly, research shows that people enjoy and benefit from higher upbeat music during hard (vigorous intensity) workouts. Examples of music styles with a higher tempo could be: pop, techno, rock, and electronic dance music. When cooling down and stretching afterwards, you may want to play slower, relaxing songs.

Headphone Considerations

Although any headphones will work, choosing a sports specific pair is helpful. Big headphones work fine for lifting weights but may bounce or move around when running on a treadmill. I find ear bud headphones that have a section that wraps behind my ears are the best. Waterproof is a big plus; especially if you sweat a lot.

Music can get you motivated and helps you stay active. What are your favourite songs to get active to? Leave a comment down below or on Twitter @HealthfamilyBC and @TeamPAL


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