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Ever wondered why your gym is always playing music?

Listening to music during workouts has officially become a way of life. Whether you’re lifting some weights or doing some high-intensity cardio, music is likely to be your close companion. While we use music to create a certain “vibe” for our workouts, did you know that listening to music during your workout sessions can yield health benefits

Health Benefits of Exercising With Music

The Nervous System

The central nervous system is highly sensitive to musical cues and its reaction to these is diverse, ranging from muscle activation and thought to attention and executive function. Similarly, the autonomous nervous system reacts through the regulation of one’s blood pressure and heart rate. 

Aids In Repetitive Exercises 

Music has been found to stimulate the brain’s motor area, which is responsible for controlling movements. When paired up with exercise, it helps your body complete repetitive movements more efficiently. This will help you complete exercise reps faster and at a higher intensity, leading to reduced blood pressure, increased metabolism, and an increased heart rate

Increased Heart Rate

According to research conducted, listening to up-tempo music during exercises maximizes health benefits by increasing your heart rate.

In the study, the participants completed two different exercise sessions, each taking place on different days. One session involved endurance, and the other focused on high-intensity training

According to the study, music can regulate processes in the autonomic nervous system, including the cardiovascular system. This was in with regard to both (heart rate) and blood pressure.

Benefits of Increased Heart Rate During Exercise

It has been proven that an increased heart rate during exercise trains your body to take in more oxygen and transport blood to your muscles more effectively. This then helps you burn more calories and lower your cholesterol, lowering your risk of heart disease. Also, the higher your heart rate during exercise, the more aerobic and cardiovascular benefits come from it. 


Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

Lowering Fatigue

Music during exercise has been shown to effectively reduce fatigue and its related symptoms. Brunel University London found that listening to music during exercise can fight off fatigue, with their study revealing that the rhythm of music activates the left inferior frontal gyrus of the brain, preventing us from becoming tired.

This region of the brain appears to be a hub of sensory integration, and processing information from external and internal sources,” the university reports, indicating how increased activation of this region coincides with decreased fatigue among study participants. 

Reduces Pain

Similar to how it combats fatigue, music has also been shown to help you overcome pain.

In a study from McGill University, researchers discovered that “music listening reportedly lowers requirements for opiate drugs in postoperative pain.” By listening to music while exercising, you trigger your body to release natural mood-enhancing hormones, such as dopamine, the neurotransmitter that drives your brain’s reward system. Combined with the serotonin released by exercising (which positively impacts brain health), these hormones not only improve your mood, but also raise your pain tolerance. This leads to an increase in your endurance and ability to complete an exercise session with little to no pain. 

Boosts Performance

The University of Toronto conducted a study whereby they examined 34 cardiac rehabilitation patients after exercise routines. The researchers split the patients into three groups. One exercised without music, another with personalized playlists, and the last group with a curated playlist designed to “enhance tempo-paced synchronization with rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS).

It was observed that the group that utilized the RAS experienced higher endurance levels, longer workouts with increased intensity, and better performance without feeling as though they had exerted much energy. 

This seems to coincide with another study that found that those who listened to music while on a treadmill increased their pace and distance traveled with lower perceived exertion. Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University School of Sport and Education in London says that music “can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15%“.

It’s Time to Prepare That Playlist

Who knew music could be more than just a form of entertainment? So before your next exercise session, set up your playlist of up-tempo feel-good music as it will do way more than just make you feel good. 


  • Smirmaul, B.P., 2016. Effect of pre-task music on sports or exercise performance. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 57(7-8), pp.976-984.
  • Ballmann, C.G., McCullum, M.J., Rogers, R.R., Marshall, M.R. and Williams, T.D., 2021. Effects of preferred vs. nonpreferred music on resistance exercise performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 35(6), pp.1650-1655.
  • Sanchez, X., Moss, S.L., Twist, C. and Karageorghis, C.I., 2014. On the role of lyrics in the music–exercise performance relationship. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 15(1), pp.132-138.

Bongane Nxumalo

As a recent graduate of Rhodes University, Bongane is skilled in content production and editing for Print Media, Digital Media, and On-Air Content. With an interest in Current Affairs, Entertainment, and Politics, Bongane is able to provide a vast range of content that is relevant, informative, educational, and entertaining.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

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