“Music drives you. It wakes you up, it gets you pumping. And, at the end of the day, the correct tune will chill you down.” — Dimebag Darrell
Music is a huge motivator. I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone. From building suspense in movies, to setting the tone for a romantic evening, to making you linger in shops so you buy more, music moves us. And when it comes to your workout, music moves us harder, faster, and more effectively than coffee.
That’s because music is able to engage the body’s sympathetic nervous system. It’s why babies clap along to tunes and why we start running in step if there’s a good beat. Ramp up the tempo or crank up the volume, and then we’ve also triggered our alerting responses. Our pulse and breathing speed up, and our muscles get primed to move.
But get this — upbeat music also increases our endurance. In a sports psychology study at Brunel University in England, the beats per minute (BPM) of a song influence the efficacy of a workout. And those listening to music during a workout gain a whopping 15% greater output of endurance. That’s partly because listening to music releases endorphins in the brain which, apart from creating excitement, also quells anxiety, eases pain, and stabilises the immune system. Handy, hey.
But more than your workout, music can help you set the tone and tempo of your day. So crank it up. Sing if you know the words. And then dance.
How to set up a winning playlist
Different tempos suit different workouts. So here’s a quick guide for your playlist.
- Choose songs with 80-90 BPM for warm-ups and cool-downs.
- Try 127-139 BPM for fast walks.
- Go 147-160 BPM for runs.
If you’re already on Spotify, you can check out the BPM of your favourite songs on your playlists or try other sites like SongBPM.