Have you ever been aggressively pumped to get in your workout solely because you'd put together a kick-ass playlist that you knew was going to make the entire sweat sesh beyond incredible? Honestly, I can't remember the last time I hit up the gym without my headphones in hand. The thought of exercising without music low-key makes me want to curl up into a ball and die. And the cool thing is, music affects your workout in a number of highly beneficial ways. So, no, it's not all in your head when you feel like you're on cloud nine the minute your current favorite jam comes on.
I mean, for instance, just look at how many people are absolutely obsessed with SoulCycle. You're legit drenched in your own perspiration and wheezing because of how freaking high the instructor is making you crank the resistance, but you're still somehow having a blast because of — yup, you guessed it — the killer playlist that's bumping throughout the pitch black room.
According to a 2010 study, scientists realized that cyclists naturally worked harder while listening to upbeat music. So I guess that's why I'm out there #grinding at SoulCycle rather than passing out or throwing up. Cool.
There are actually a bunch of other reasons why your beloved gym time playlist positively affects your workout, though. Here are five ways that music improves even the most difficult of sweat sessions. And maybe you'll feel inspired to go workout afterward.
The fact that some awesome music can distract you from a challenging workout is just another reason why you should never leave your headphones at home. Jamming out to your workout playlist during, say, a grueling leg day has been shown to take your mind off the strain and uncomfortable feelings, thus decreasing your perception of pain. Uh so, can it also reduce the soreness and inability to walk up a single flight of stairs for days afterwards, too? Asking for a friend.
You've probably noticed that when your favorite song comes on, regardless of where you are, you automatically get pumped as hell or start bopping your head or bouncing your leg to the rhythm. This is because, according to ACE Fitness, music causes "mental arousal." This was confirmed in a 1997 study, in which music was used to psych participants up and resulted in them performing better during their workout. DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win" gives me life at the gym. Just throwing that out there.
According to The New York Times, a study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences revealed that listening to music during difficult high intensity interval training made the participants actually enjoy the exercise, want to do it again, and go harder than the group that didn't have access to the pump up jams. No wonder why I literally freak out when I can't find my headphones. This science is serious sh*t, people.
Research shows that music improves the motor coordination within your brain, thus improving literal bodily movement. If you've ever moved to the beat during a Zumba or kickboxing class and literally felt the beat take over your bod, you know what I'm talking about, fam. This can lead to increased overall confidence and a positive association with exercise, leading you to come back for more and more (with your earbuds in hand, of course).