Exercise and Music Choice

You’ve just finished work, you want to exercise, but it’s been a long day…

You know working out is good for your body, but today, you just can’t seem to find the energy?

Maybe you made it to the gym, but you’re struggling to finish your workout?

If any of these sound familiar, rest assured that you’re not alone. We’ve all heard that working out is good for our bodies - the problem is, everyday life can be stressful, making it challenging to find the drive to get to the gym. Could music be the answer?

Well, today, you’re going to find out. 


Hooked on a feeling

Music is powerful. It can lead to feelings of pleasure, displeasure, mood changes, and affect the way you think1. We know that hearing something you like can put you in a great mood, but how does this happen2?

Well, put briefly, hormone called serotonin, sometimes called the ‘happy hormone’, gets released by the brain in response to your favourite track2. This might be just the boost you need to get your workout in.


Dancing your way to the finish line

The benefits of listening to music during exercise are underestimated. Many people know what kind of music they like, but put up with whatever is playing on the speakers in the gym. Believe it or not, the keys to enjoying your workouts more, showing up every day, and increasing performance could all be within your playlist.

If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re likely to do more of it, right? Studies support this, showing that the type of music you listen to directly impacts how long you workout for3. Did you know that listening to music you like has been shown to increase the amount of time spent doing an activity, while music you don’t like reduces it4? What’s super interesting is that this effect is even more profound in women than in men5. Get your playlists ready, ladies!


Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

What about performance?
Do you want to be faster? Stronger?

Seeing improvements in your performance can take time and consistent training. It takes blood, sweat, and tears, right?

What might surprise you, is that something as simple as music can help you smash a couple of personal bests. Research suggests that people performing high intensity bursts of activity, such as sprinting or weight training, see an immediate increase in performance when listening to music6. Not only that, but they found it far more enjoyable7!

So, now that you know about the benefits of listening to music while you exercise, what should you do?

Experiment! Above all, music is a very personal thing, what works best for you might not work for someone else.

Try creating a playlist that mixes genres and tempos, and test different songs for different types of activity. For example, a fast tempo might work best for running, while a heavier beat could enhance your weight training. Don’t forget your cool down tracks, music improves recovery too8!

On a practical note, having a solid pair of wireless sports headphones can be a great tool. Sports headphones are typically sweat resistant, and the lack of wires will keep them out of your way while you train. In addition, headphones like this are designed to not fall out, no matter how much jump rope you do!

So, what are you waiting for? Next time you’re doing pull-ups, be sure to pull up your playlist to get moving and grooving!



  1. Karageorghis C, Priest D. Music in the exercise domain: a review and synthesis (Part I). International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology. 2012;5(1):44-66.
  2. Karageorghis C, Priest D. Music in the exercise domain: a review and synthesis (Part II). International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology. 2012;5(1):67-84.
  3. Thakur A, Yardi S. Effect of different types of music on exercise performance in normal individuals. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2013;57(4):448-51.
  4. Nakamura P, Pereira G, Papini C, Nakamura F, Kokubun E. Effects of Preferred and Nonpreferred Music on Continuous Cycling Exercise Performance. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 2010;110(1):257-264.
  5. Cole Z, Maeda H. Effects of Listening to Preferential Music on Sex Differences in Endurance Running Performance. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 2015;121(2):390-398.
  6. STORK M, KWAN M, GIBALA M, MARTIN GINIS K. Music Enhances Performance and Perceived Enjoyment of Sprint Interval Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2015;47(5):1052-1060.
  7. Smirmaul B. Effect of pre-task music on sports or exercise performance. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2017;57(7-8):976-984.
  8. Eliakim M, Bodner E, Eliakim A, Nemet D, Meckel Y. Effect of Motivational Music on Lactate Levels During Recovery from Intense Exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2012;26(1):80-86.

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