Research shows tunes can make your workout easier. Here’s how to take full advantage.
November 13th, 2018
As humans, we are hardwired to respond to rhythm. If you’ve ever reflexively tapped your toes, drummed your fingers, or bob your head to a catchy tune, you know this to be true.
“It’s a very inherent thing,” says Jasmin Hutchinson, Ph.D., who’s an associate professor of exercise science and sports studies and the director for sport and exercise psychology at Springfield College. But music doesn’t just get our bodies moving—it can help them move in the best, most powerful way possible, especially in the context of exercise.
When it comes to running, this means multiple things. Music can help you run longer, faster, and more comfortable. “Matching your stride to a particular beat can help you better regulate your pace,” says Hutchinson, describing an effect known as auditory-motor synchronization.
Here, her advice on how to best use music to your athletic advantage:
• Determine Your Goals
Depending on whether you are going for a long run and hoping to extend your distance or if you are focused on speed for short sprints, you should choose your tunes accordingly.
• Pay Attention to BPMs
Songs with an average of 120 to 130 BPM are the ideal tempo for fast, powerful running, says Hutchinson. But, bumping up the BPMs beyond that—say, to 150 BPM—can have an adverse effect.
• Pick Motivating Lyrics
When you’re going for speed, the tempo isn’t the only important aspect of a song—lyrics can play an influential role as well. On that note, any positive associations you have with music and running can be a helpful, motivating tool.
• Press Pause as Needed
Though the performance-enhancing benefits of music are undeniably legit, they can lose their effectiveness over time. That’s why during the long run, it can be helpful to either mix up the type of tracks you’re listening to or turn off the music entirely for dedicated stretches of your workout.
If you wish to continue reading, visit runnersworld.com to read the complete article.