Rock Out While You Work Out


Today, most people rarely exercise without music. While artist and song preferences vary among individuals, there is little doubt that a workout with music is much more enjoyable than a silent one. The ubiquity of headphone-clad exercisers is no surprise, since technology allows anyone to listen to the music of their choice, and on a variety of devices. Though the iPod is likely the most popular medium of workout tunes, cell phones, MP3 players, and radios can be used to make exercise more entertaining and enjoyable. What some may not know, though, is that music can do much more than simply make an early-morning jog seem less like torture. Multiple studies have been done to demonstrate the effect of music on exercise. Results suggest that listening to music while exercising can result in a variety of benefits. Here are a few key ways that music can improve a workout:

  • Get Pumped: Music serves as a great motivator for a workout, so keep the headphones handy during a warm-up. Tunes can increase respiration and heart rate, serving as great preparation for exercise.
  • Improve Endurance: According to an article in The Sport Journal, musical tempo can regulate movement and thus prolong performance.  By listening to music while working out, the body becomes used to the beat and is less likely to tire.
  • Be Positive: Music is a great motivator for exercise. The type of music and its rhythm can be significantly influential on cardiovascular activity.
  • Exercise Often: Listening to enjoyable music while exercising can spark pleasant connections. This is beneficial during exercise, an activity that some may associate with unfavorable feelings such as exertion or discomfort. As music increases pleasant feelings, and blocks out sounds such as heavy breathing, individuals who jam while jogging are more likely to exercise more on a regular basis.

While personal taste in music should obviously be the first consideration when making a workout playlist, it should be considered that different types of music can have different effects on exercise. A workout can be made more efficient by considering the beats-per-minute of a song. Since rhythm has an effect on effect on activity, choosing high-tempo songs can cause a tough workout to last longer than it normally would. A great website for choosing cardio music is, which suggests a wide variety of songs based on an individual’s per-mile pace. Not only does it give music for running, but for walking and cycling as well. As for strength training, it is normally best to avoid slow-tempo music. Although any music is better than silence, it has been shown that relaxing, sedative music can actually decrease an individual’s ability to train muscles.

Music’s effect on exercise has proven to be greatly beneficial by increasing motivation and stamina. However, while the majority of the body reaps the positive consequences, there is an important organ that also needs to be taken care of: the ears. It is vitally important to make sure that the volume of the music is at a reasonable level, since the use of headphones to stream loud music can contribute to hearing loss over a prolonged period of time. Audiologist Catherine Swenson, who recognizes music as a great motivator for exercise, also stresses the importance of monitoring volume levels on iPod and MP3 players. Volume is measured in decibels, and if the ear is exposed to a high level of decibels for a certain amount of time every day, the hearing can become progressively worse. “An iPod at 60 percent volume is a safe level for hearing, and you can listen to that all day long” says Swenson. At maximum volume, an iPod should only be listened to for five minutes per day. For those who think they will forget about hearing health, fear not! Swenson’s advice: “You can set limits on your iPod so the volume cannot go as high.” This way, even at maximum volume the noise will not damage the ears.

With all this knowledge in mind, perhaps it’s time to create a new workout playlist. Here are some suggestions for getting pumped and working out:


  • “Levels” by Avicii
  • “We Found Love” by Rihanna
  • “Sleazy 2.0 Remix” by Ke$ha, Wiz Khalifa, T.I., and Andre 3000
  • “Domino” by Jessie J
  • “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction
  • “Starships” by Nicki Minn.
  • “So Good” by B.o.B
  • “I Like It Like That” by Hot Chelle Rae & New Boyz

      Strength Training

  • “Till I Collapse” by Eminem
  • “I Like How It Feels” by Enrique Iglesias
  • “Rumor Has It” by Adele
  • “Swing” by Savage
  • “E.T.” by Katy Perry and Kanye West

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2 Comments on “Rock Out While You Work Out”

  1. April 20, 2012 at 3:19 am #

    This just inspired me to update my playlists and throw on my asics! Thanks!

  2. April 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    Great songs! I love good music to work out to. I just found a book that you might be interested in as well. It’s called Get Fit, Get Healthy and has 101 tips for living a healthier life all-around.

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