The Psychology of Your Playlist

The Psychology of Your Playlist

We know that many use music when they workout, but did you know that they lyrics and beat you choose also impacts your response?

When working out, most people choose music with lyrics or a beat that is uplifting or motivating. Researchers have found that music not only sets a pace for the workout, but it distracts you from pain or fatigue that occurs when you work out.  As the body responds to the rhythm it may also be more efficient in how the body responds metabolically to the workout itself.

The body also pushes further with the use of music.  Our bodies are constantly using feedback to check in and respond accordingly.  Researchers found that music may interrupt this feedback, and therefore, the athlete can push past fatigue or even perform at a higher level.  In other words, research participants were able to run faster and further. Workouts may be perceived as being easier with the right playlist as well.  Researcher Costa Karageoghis is quoted as saying "music is like a performance-enhancing drug for that reason."

Emotionally, we also benefit from music.  Music is known to promote a better mood with the right music and lyrics.  Some may use heavy rap music that is overlayed with a steady rhythm, used for weight lifting, but be careful.  Researchers noted that when feeling depressed, similar music made those feelings worsen.  Soothing music may help promote a peaceful mood and reduce anxiety.  This type of music is great for yoga, meditation, biofeedback, or when you just need to slow down and relax.  For aerobic type workouts, you may find yourself singing along to arena rock or one of your old favorites that recalls old memories.  

While the genre and beat of the music is a personal one, some researchers reported that a 120-160 beat per minute rhythm was the most common used in exercise.  The apps Songza and jog.fm are reported as some options to try to match the tempo with the pace of your workout. Depending on your preferences and access to personalized playlists, you can connect to old and new lyrics, rock on, sweat it out, and reach for your fitness goals.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/psychology-workout-music/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/why-music-moves-us/201301/music-and-exercise-what-current-research-tells-us

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