Health & Fitness, Fitness: workout to stay healthy

Working out to music: How to do both

Working out while listening to music helps you concentrate, coordinate your movements and keep you motivated. With some equipment adapted to your sport and a selection of playlists specially designed for each of your workout sessions, get started and enjoy the benefits of music during your workout.

Why work out while listening to music?

Young male jogger athlete training and doing workout outdoors in city.

In 2016, Canadian researchers at the University of British Columbia published a study showing the benefits of working out to music. Listening to music while working out helps:

  • Increase enjoyment during physical activity.
  • Give the impression that the workout session is less difficult: By feeling less tired, you will be able to maintain your motivation level and increase the duration of the training session by up to 20% (but be sure to listen to your body).
  • Improve concentration.
  • Improve performance.

Getting equipped to do sports to music

To enjoy the benefits of music during sports, choose comfortable and high-quality equipment specifically designed for physical activity, if possible.

Equipping yourself to do outdoor sports with music

For outdoor workouts, use compact, durable, sweat-resistant headphones or earphones. Pack them in a sealed bag or a zipped pocket for easy portability as well as to prevent dropping the music player.

In town, turn down your music volume to ensure that you hear oncoming traffic. For outdoor sports, the battery life of the music player is an important factor: Opt for a rechargeable device and possibly include a backup battery.

Special equipment for water sports

Waterproof equipment can accompany you throughout your swimming sessions or other water sports without getting damaged by water:

  • Waterproof headphones.
  • Waterproof MP3 player.
  • Clip-on devices, which can be attached to the swimming goggles.
  • Other equipment.

Check the battery life of the equipment and the depth at which you can immerse it. Weight is also an important factor for your comfort. Listening to music while doing laps is ideal to improve your performance and consistency!

Music and home fitness: The convenience of working out with music at home

If you work out at home, you have all the options available to you:

  • Choose a music player with a remote control or one that’s compatible with your mobile device, to adjust the volume and change tracks easily.
  • If you’re not alone, use wireless headphones so you don’t disturb those around you. These headphones are sturdy and compatible with different devices: Hi-Fi system, phone, computer, smart TV, etc.
  • There is some fitness equipment that features built-in speakers: Enjoy optimal sound for your workout to music by connecting the speakers to your tablet or smartphone.

How to create your workout playlist

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The best workout playlist is made up of songs you like. It’s recommended that you have several tracks arranged by rhythm to match the different training sessions. Update your playlists regularly so you don’t get bored.

Your playlist to warm you up

Start the workout with 5 to 10 minutes of upbeat music, not too slow, not too rhythmic. A gradual increase in tempo will accompany the increase in your heart rate.

A rhythmic playlist for an intense workout

To get encouraged during intense workouts, for example during a training or an HIIT session, prepare 20 to 30 minutes of highly rhythmic music that will make you want to push yourself. 

If you know your maximum heart rate (MHR), the average maximum number of beats your heart can produce per minute, this can help you create your playlist. A session of HIIT is performed at more than 80% of MHR. If you have MHR of 187 BPM, your training session should bring you up to 150 BPM. The tempo in music is also calculated in BPM and some websites can give you the BPM of a song in 1 click.

An ideal playlist for cardio workouts

For cardio exercises, such as swimming, cycling, running or rowing, include 40-60 minute playlists with a tempo that matches your workout, to help you focus and keep exercising for the duration. Cardio exercises generally achieve 60 to 70% of MHR. Avoid music with wide tempo variations: Choose consistency instead.

A Zen-style playlist to do yoga

Opt for a Zen-style, mellow playlist to do yoga, with slow rhythms that will accompany your breathing. World music, nature sounds, classical music, or anything else you like will be suitable, as long as you choose relaxing tracks.

A soft track for the recovery stages 

During the last 5 minutes of the workout, choose slower and softer music to match your lower heart rate. Rather than an abrupt change in tempo, you can proceed in steps by selecting 2 or 3 tunes with intermediate rhythms.

If you lack the inspiration to create your workout playlists, there are ready-made selections categorised by style, rhythm and workouts available on the Internet. 

Check out our Health & Fitness page for more advice.