You pull up to the gym, and you realize you’ve left your headphones at home … BUZZKILL. If you’re anything like me, turning your car around to go them would be a better option than a silent workout. There’s just something about the thought of having to listen to everyone around you grunting, combined with the terrible music that plays over the gym speakers that makes me cringe.
I mean, it doesn’t take a scientist to tell you that music makes exercise more enjoyable. But have you ever thought about why?
It Releases Dopamine
Studies have shown that jammin’ to your favorite playlist may act as a natural pain reliever.  When you listen to music, it releases dopamine – A neurotransmitter known as the “feel good chemical”- which is typically associated with rewards such as food, sex and gambling. This is the sought after sensation by those who do drugs such as cocaine and amphetamine to get a high. When dopamine is released into the brain, it boosts your mood, increases energy levels and can cause changes in heart rate and breathing.
It Can Help Us Use Energy More Efficiently
A 2012 study, “Effect of Music-Movement Synchrony on Exercise Oxygen Consumption” looked at 21 individuals to see how music impacts athletic performance. They found that those listening to music while cycling used 7% less oxygen compared to those who were not. Crazy right?! The reasoning is that music acts a metronome for our brain which in turn helps maintain steady pacing and decreases energy expenditure. As your brain begins to detect a rhythm, it influences the body’s movements and by promoting a pattern of movement can reduce energy output.
It Can Boost Endurance & Drown the Perception of Fatigue
“An ergogenic effect is evident when music improves exercise performance by either delaying fatigue or increasing work capacity. Typically this effect results in higher-than-expected levels of endurance, power, productivity or strength,” says Costas Karageorghis, one of the word’s leading experts on the psychology of exercise and music. “In this sense, music can be thought of as a type of legal performance-enhancing drug.” 
The human body is always monitoring itself, especially in times of high “stress.” Increased heart rate, sweat and the infamous “jello legs” are all signs that your body is beginning to experience a level of exertion. By aiding as a distraction, music can interfere with the physiological feedback of fatigue as it competes for the brain’s conscious, undivided attention. This attempt of interference can help you get through that last set of hammer curls before your brain decides it has had enough. 😉
What’s On Your Workout Playlist?
I asked some friends what songs are must-haves for any good workout playlist and I got over 183 responses (thanks, everyone!). But since I couldn’t rationalize giving you all a 9 and a half hour playlist, here are the top 25 (in no particular order) to get your butt into gear at the gym:
- Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
- Push it to the Limit – Corbin Blue
- Stay the Night – Zedd, Hayley Williams
- ‘Till I Collapse – Eminem
- Footloose – Kenny Loggins
- Training Montage – Rocky Soundtrack
- Mr. Highway’s Thinking about the End – A Day to Remember
- A$$ – Nikki Minaj
- Crucify Me – Bring Me the Horizon
- There’s Nothing Holding Me Back – Shawn Mendez
- Daughters – The Story So Far
- Work It – Missy Elliot
- Black Betty – Ram Jam
- Adrenalize – In This Moment
- X Gon’ Give it to Ya – DMX
- A Milli – Lil’ Wayne
- One – Swedish House Mafia
- Sail – AWOLNATION
- SECOND & SEBRING – Of Mice and Men
- Hate it or Love it – Game ft. 50 Cent
- Cake by the Ocean – DNCE
- Give It 2 U – Robin Thicke, Kendrick Lamar
- Summer – Calvin Harris
- Destroy the Orcs – 3 Inches of Blood
- Worldwide Choppers – Tech N9ne
Did we miss any playlist essentials!?
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