How Workout Music Affects Your Heart Rate

How Workout Music Affects Your Heart Rate

You probably know that working out is great for your heart, but did you know that adding music to your exercise routine can increase your heart rate, creating a more effective workout?  It's true.

Music = Motivation

Just the addition of music can motivate you to work out more often and longer. Think about it: would you rather work out in silence, or with a background of music you enjoy? Music can distract you from the temporary discomforts of exercise and can motivate you to push yourself just a bit farther. It promotes positive thinking and reduces stress. In short, music makes exercise more fun.

Music Can Increase Heart Rate

It makes sense to think that listening to music with a fast tempo can increase your heart rate while working out, but a study at Virginia's Hampden-Sydney College actually proved it. The study showed that participants who listened to music while riding exercise bikes actually traveled 11% farther than those who rode with no music.

Music stimulates your brain and nervous system, which control your heart rate. When you listen to music while exercising, you'll be motivated to work out longer, thereby creating endurance and a stronger heart.

Choose Your Tunes

Put some thought into your workout music. Your priority should be choosing music you enjoy - who would be motivated by listening to music that they don't like? Your next consideration should be tempo and style:  choose fast, driving tunes for cardio workouts and calm, soothing tunes for warming up and cooling down.

There are even websites specializing in creating music mixes customized to your workout; try run2r.com or jogtunes.com. Fiql.com allows you to create various playlists depending on your workout type and even your mood.

You may want to create a playlist that begins with slower songs and then speeds up to a peak before slowing down again. With the music working alongside you, your workout really will seem to require less effort.

Music Can Keep Blood Pressure Rates Low

Music can also affect blood pressure rates. A recent University of California study tested subjects' blood pressure while performing difficult tasks:

  • Those performing in silence had the highest blood pressure spikes
  • Those listening to jazz and popular music rose less
  • Those listening to classical tunes had barely any increase.

So, when you're creating a playlist, don't neglect classical music. Many pieces are calming for slower times such as warmups (think Pachelbel's Canon in D for instance), and there are faster choices as well (Vivaldi and Mozart come to mind).

Music All Day

Music isn't just for working out. Listening to music can have benefits at other times of day as well. Studies have shown that listening to music you enjoy can improve your mood long term - not just while you're actually listening.

And listening to calming music for 45 minutes before going to bed can lower your blood pressure and relax you, helping you fall sleep more easily. As Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche once said, "Without music, life would be a mistake."