68%* of athletes listen to music as they run, but did you know that listening to music does more than keep you focused and entertained? Listening to the right music during a run can provide a duality of benefits that effect both the mind and body. An article in the Independent notes that the effects of music can be so powerful that it can give athletes an edge over other competitors. Who wouldn’t want that?
Many studies have shown that music greatly affects the brain and is processed in many different areas. A study undertaken by Kouris Kalligas found that music increases emotion which can boost endurance during a long run. Studies also show that listening to music on a run can make you more focused, increasing concentration as well as improve the mood of a run. Music can act as motivational self-talk and can help to disassociate runs with negative feelings. This can make the run feel easier and more enjoyable. Listening to music can also distract the mind from any pain and fatigue.
According to a study by a professor at Brunel University, listening to music while running can increase performance by 15%. Dr. Costas Karageorghis refers to listening to music as ‘legal doping’, due to music’s ability to boost performance. Dr. Costas found that upbeat music increases the brains activity, which leads to faster and longer efforts, with less perceived exertion. A study undertaken by a scholar at the Australian Institute of Sport found that listening to music before and during a run can have an extremely positive impact on muscle strength, heart and lung function. The study found that fast music leads to a substantial increase in oxygen consumption, cardiac output and breathing rate.
So, what kind of music is best to listen to when going for a run? According to Runners Connect, high-tempo music provides the brain and heart with the most stimulus allowing you to run faster and further. Rhythm is a key factor in determining how impactful a song will be to performance. According to Soundwhiz, with reference to a study from the University of Virginia, the body involuntarily adjusts to the hearts beats per minutes to what you are listening to. Research suggests songs around 145 beats per minute are optimal, however it’s important to note that the music should match the intensity of your work out. More intense workouts should be accompanied with more intense songs with a higher number of beats per minute. Research on college students found that the most popular genres of music to listen to whilst exercising are hip hop, rock, pop and country.
To help athletes run faster, faster Run Theory has put together the ultimate running playlist; RUNNING BTZ VOL#1, now available on Spotify. RUNNING BTZ VOL#1 offers 90 minutes of high octane, leg pumping and performance enhancing music to get you through the toughest training session. For Sydneysiders or beach lovers, check out our RUNNING BTZ SYD which captures the running spirit of Sydney and is chockablock with upbeat, high tempo music.
* Running USA, National Running Survey 2016