New research finds that listening music can dramatically improve your performance during intense workouts. Listening to self-selected music can reduce the potential aversiveness of an acute session of SIT by improving affect, motivation and enjoyment, and to examine the effects of music on performance.
Music enhanced in-task performance and enjoyment of an acute bout of SIT. Listening to music during intense interval exercise may be an effective strategy to facilitate participation in, and adherence to, this form of training.
The study, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, followed 20 young, healthy newcomers to interval training: first they tried “all-out” pedaling, using stationary bikes at the highest resistance each volunteer could handle, without music. Scientists observed the participants’ raw power output and surveyed them on the degree of their misery.
The volunteers returned to the lab/gym, this time with some of their favorite music queued up. They pedaled again, once with music and once without. Again researchers recorded their power output and quizzed them on their experience. Here’s the awe-part: discomfort was equal with music and without music, but the power output with music was substantially greater than the power output sans music.
In other words, music in your ear will increase the intensity, not the discomfort, of your workout.