Why Music Is the Secret to a Better Workout

Man running outside with music and headphones
Man running outside with music and headphonesG-Stock Studio / Shutterstock

If you’re searching for that extra kick-in-the-seat to get through your treadmill session, try music. Not just any music though: Listening to faster-tempo tunes between 170 and 190 beats per minute (bpm) was found to have the greatest effect on getting people’s heart rate up while lowering their perceived effort, according to a recent study by Andrea De Giorgio, associate professor in physiological psychology at eCampus University in Italy.

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During the experiment, people worked out in silence or with slow, medium, or fast-paced music. Overall, the faster the beat, the easier the workout felt, which is key since research shows that the limiting factor in people’s workouts is usually mental, not physical. “Rhythmic patterns of music facilitate the execution of movement, creating a feedback loop,” says De Giorgio. “In the context of exercise, certain music can be strategically chosen in order to induce physio-psychological responses that lead to better performance, as well as regulating mood and shifting attention. Try “Go Off” by M.I.A. (170 bpm), “Arabesque” by Coldplay (172 bpm), and “Follow God” by Kanye West (180 bpm).

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