How Workout Music Helps Breathing

Workout music not only increases enjoyment, but also helps your breathing. Listening to music while working out assists with a number of exercise goals related to breathing. Choosing the appropriate music at the right times can elevate the heart rate during warm-up, keep a steady and rhythmic breathing pattern during the exercise activity, create bursts of energy when needed and slow the rate of respiration upon cool down.

Research on Workout Music and Breathing

Researchers have studied the connection between music and cardiac activity during exercise. One study found that the rate of breathing showed a significant increase at the onset of jazz music. When the music ended, the respiration rate returned to levels before the music was played.

However, the heart rate does not match up with the rate of the music. The human heart rate, on average, is between 72 and 80 beats per minute while the tempos of various music types can range from 60 to more than 170 beats per minute. Nevertheless, studies find that a moderate increase in heart rate does exist at the onset of higher tempo music. In like manner, once the heart rate is up, playing slower tempo music will help to slow down breathing.

As for explanations on how exactly breathing is sped up or slowed down, experts agree that music has an emotional impact on people. It is not uncommon to feel greater energy when listening to an uplifting song. In contrast, a slow, sad song may lead to a more sedative bodily experience. Your favorite song makes you feel alive and upbeat.

Using Music during a Workout

When getting ready for a workout, music may be used to get the body energized and motivated to get started. During a warm-up, if the goal is to raise the heart rate to 120 beats per minute, experts suggest choosing music in the range of 80 to 130 beats per minute.

As you progress with the workout, choose music that increases in tempo for more intense exercise. For interval training, you may want to coordinate fast and slow tempo music to match your intended workout goals. Choosing rhythmic music also helps to regulate your breathing. It acts as a reminder to breathe regularly, which may be a challenge for exercisers when the body is feeling overly taxed or preoccupied with getting through the workout.

Some athletes and exercisers find, over time, that familiarity with the music helps them to anticipate the highs and lows of the tempo and musical intensity. This often corresponds with how much energy they exert throughout the workout. The heart rate intensifies in anticipation of faster tempo music, providing a boost in aerobic capacity. Conversely, slower tempos when anticipated let the body know that a workout break is coming.


Music makes a wonderful addition to a workout. It helps to regulate your breathing. It increases your heart rate to give you the extra motivation needed to start a workout, to increase your energy levels, to access even greater momentum in interval training and to slow your heart rate back to normal levels when you’re done. 


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