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Does Listening to Music Improve the Quality of Your Workout?

Listening to music during your workout isn't just fun, it's functional. Thanks, science!

There is nothing better than putting in your headphones and drowning out the world when you hit the gym. But does listening to music actually aid your workout?

The good news is the answer is "yes," and there is some scientific evidence to prove this. According to research, music helps to release chemicals in your brain, such as dopamine and opioids, which puts you in a better mood, makes you less tired, and can even raise your pain threshold.

Dr. Daniel Levitin, a neuroscientist and author of This Is Your Brain On Music, previously told Huffington Post in an email that music can do two things to your workout: It either "acts as a distractor" which adjusts the pain levels (so you can work out harder), or it "acts as a mood enhancer."

So, is there a particular genre you should be listening to? What we do know about this, is that, according to research, there is also a link between synchronizing your movement to the tempo of the music. What this means is that listening to fast-paced music can help you perform more efficiently.

This was proven during a study conducted on cyclists. According to Active, Dr. Costas Karageorphis, the author of Inside Sport Psychology, revealed that when the cyclists cycled in time to music they needed "7 percent less oxygen to do the same work when compared to music playing in the background." The result indicated that music "has the potential to make you more energy efficient."

The only thing then to remember is that the lack of concentration caused by listening to music could result in you repeating exercises too quickly, and not doing them well enough. What does this mean? Well, for resistance exercises maybe go easy on the music, but when doing endurance exercises like running or cycling, music has the ability to make you go faster.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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