When you want to get the most out of your workout – or any other physical activity – using music to motivate yourself is scientifically shown to be beneficial in helping you get things done. It can help you to get up and go, to pour everything you have into your workout, and feel good doing it. You might not even realize it’s happening, but the difference is incredible.

Where Music to Motivate Yourself Really Shines

The start of your workout usually comes with some rather obvious steps to get yourself going. You put on your workout clothes and tie up your shoes, you might have taken a LIPONITRO, you tie back your hair, and start moving around a little bit to get your body going.  You hop on your favorite machine and turn your attention to the program you’re selecting for it, or perhaps you head outside and observe the morning air.

At that point, music to motivate yourself is definitely handy. You’re getting yourself going at the start.  You notice that you’re following the beat.  That said, where you’ll really discover that it makes a difference is when you’ve been going for a while. You reach about halfway through a tough interval when an absolutely incredible song comes on. You’re not sure what exactly makes you love that song, but everything from its lyrics to its melody and its beat just work for you. Boom, you’re powering through that interval and somehow it feels a bit easier. You feel stronger and more powerful.

This Feeling is Observed and Measured by Science

Several studies have now shown that the impact of music to motivate yourself is a significant one. The main impacts are believed to be a mood boost, the perception of a lower rate of exertion, pacing assistance, a better heart rate recovery time, and – interestingly – better overall physical performance.  Together, this is all highly motivational and can clearly enhance pretty much any workout.

Now, a new Journal of Human Kinetics study has shown that listening to music throughout a timed running trial resulted in a 10 percent improvement in the total distance covered.  That wasn’t the only benefit measured by the scientists.  Fascinatingly, there was also a 14 percent speed increase. 

Furthermore, the researchers recorded that there was evidence of a reduction of 8 percent in blood lactate concentration among the participants who were listening to music while they ran. The scientists speculated that aside from listening to music to motivate the runners, the songs might have had an overall relaxing impact on the body, easing muscle tension, boosting blood flow and, therefore, improving lactate clearance.

What was particularly interesting about this particular component of the study was that the runners who listened to songs only during their warm-up but not during the run itself still saw an 8 percent increase in distance covered and an 8 percent boost in speed. This shows just how great listening to music to motivate yourself can be.