Should you listen to music when you work out or does it actually hurt your results? It does not if you pick the right kind of music for your activity. Here are some pointers.
Pump Up The Volume?
The discussion about this has been going on for ages and probably already started back when the first radios appeared at gyms. With the advent of the Walkman sometime around 1980, it got even more heated: should or shouldn’t you listen to music when you work out?
It turns out that it most likely depends on what kind of music you listen to with what activity:
What about the scientific background of this video? The one about people exercising harder when they listen to music you can find behind this link. That increased efforts can depend on the tempo of the music I found in this one right here. As for lifting weights and music, this review provides a pretty good overview (DOC) and also looks at possible detrimental effects.
What About Watching Television?
At some gyms you’ll find televisions sets mounted on the walls, other even have crosstrainers or stationary bikes that come with their own television. This actually was found to be too distracting. Apparently when not only our hearing, but also our vision gets distracted from working out, performance gets worse – our minds can only concentrate on that many things at once and something has got to give.
Therefore you are fine listening to music while doing cardio, but stay away from television screens. If you attempt to watch television while lifting weights, you got issues.
Be Safe With Sound!
Last but not least, never forget how good current headphones / earphones are at blocking outside noise. This works to your advantage if you train at a loud gym, but if you go running or biking outside, you won’t hear that 15 ton truck rambling toward you either. You are well-advised to use extra caution: Look carefully when you cross streets, use only one plug / pad or set the volume low enough to hear ambient noises.
Picture courtesy of Megan Westerby.