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This Makes Exercising More Enjoyable


With New Year’s Resolutions behind us as we head into spring, many people are beginning to lose that motivation to go to the gym or work out on their own. So how do you get the workout bug back? Simply reach for your headphones as you head out the door on your next walk or jog.

A new study says to play your favorite music to make the exercise experience more enjoyable. While this may seem pretty obvious, the study published last month reveals listening to music while working out vigorously, or simply taking a brisk walk or jog, really does make exercise more fun — and may make you want to exercise more often — especially for those who don’t typically enjoy exercising.

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Study Finds Music Provides a Workout Boost

The new brain study published in the Journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, authored by Marcelo Bigliassi from Brunel University London, used electroencephalography (EEG) technology that monitors a brain’s reaction to music; the study’s participants occupied themselves in exercise and physical activity.

As music motivates most people, it makes sense that walking, exercising and any physical activity would be more fun. Author Bigliassi says for those people who do not exercise because they do not like it, listening to music might boost enjoyment of exercise, and even make us exercise more!

Music produces many emotions, whether it makes us joyful, melancholy, energetic or inspired. The brain’s response to music is what Bigliassi sought to figure out. The brain’s response to the effects of auditory stimuli during physical activities has been under-researched, according to Bigliassi. The research team employed EEG to study how music or a podcast influenced the brain during exercise, compared with no music or sound at all.

In the research study, 24 adult participants walked 400 meters around a track outside at their own pace. There were three categories: some study subjects listened to a podcast, some participants walked around the track listening to six minutes of the upbeat pop song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams; and a control group didn’t listen to anything. The researchers analyzed the participants’ focus and attention during walking in addition to how the music affected their feelings of fatigue and alertness. Listening to music resulted in a 28% higher enjoyment during the walking exercise, as compared to not listening to any sound.

In addition, enjoyment led to a 13% increase for participants who listened to the music over the podcast of a TED talk. The research team reported the effects revealed an increase in beta waves in the frontal and frontal-central regions of the brain. In other words, music elicited a more positive emotional state, which can coincide with further benefits during exercise by making physical activity more pleasurable.

How Much Exercise Should You Get?

While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends all adults engage in at least 75 minutes of vigorous intensity or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, half of all adults do not meet these guidelines.

Looking for a comfortable pair of easy-to-use headphones? Check out the recommended options below. Also, if you’re in need of a fun playlist to pump you up while you workout, you can easily create one (or use a pre-made playlist or radio station) using free applications/websites like YouTube, Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio.


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