Sunday, April 27, 2014

Workout music: To listen or not to listen?


Recently I've been reading up on the effects of music on a person's workouts. It all started after I read a rather sanctimonious opinion piece by a runner about how dangerous runners with iPods are during fun runs.

I'm going to admit right off the bat that I am one of those plugged in runners. Actually I'll go so far as to admit that I cannot run without music. As much as I want to be one, I am not a natural born runner. I have never casually done up my laces and headed out for a run. For me, running is not fun - it's always a conscious decision about what I need to do at that moment and music is one of the things that helps me get out there (that and my desire to keep fitting in my jeans, naturally!)

Looking forward to hearing a bunch of great songs helps me get out the door and head off. And it's not just with running, music helps me keep pace with a myriad other workouts. In fact, a study at Brunel University in London by Dr Kostas Karageorghis found that music can increase performance by as much as 15%.

There are great arguments for and against using music in your workout (and many more balanced than the piece that got me started on this topic). 

At the end of the day, there is really just one thing that is clear and that matters: we need to stop with the judgement and let people get on with whatever works for them. Society already has a big enough problem with inactivity and the last thing we need is to start discouraging those who are out there by shaming them out of using their music machines - wonderful things that they are. 

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