If you are not new to running, then you are probably aware of the fact that listening to music while running can help you out. That is the very reason why you see runners wearing earphones. And it’s not just in the mind of runners, because there was a scientific study that provided a solid scientific background to all of this.
In 2005 there was a study that was conducted which confirmed the connection between better performance in running and listening to music. The study was conducted at Brunel University where 36 runners reduced the time that they took to cover 400 meters by half a second while listening to music with a certain tempo to it. There are also studies conducted by sports psychologists that have shown that listening to music takes away the feeling that the exercise is something difficult by up to 10%.
When we run, there is always that difficult part that we have to get over. During that time it feels like each step that we take is an excruciating torture. If we can not get over that hump, then we just end up giving up or doing our exercise at a sub optimal level for our health. How does this work? Some of it is still unclear but it has something to do with the way that when the brain is engaged in listening to music, internal stimuli like the signals indicating muscle fatigue are blocked. That allows us to catch our second wind without experiencing the difficulty as we usually would.
The kind of music that you listen to is quite important as well. There are certain tempos and beats that can contribute to the overall performance of the body. Songs with 120 to about 135 beats per minute are the best ones in stimulating better performance. For those who would like a list of the best songs to include on their running music playlist, here are some of the best songs that I recommend. These are currently on my running music playlist and will last you at least for 5 or 6 miles:
1. Harder to Breathe by Maroon 5.
2. SOS by Rihanna.
3. Firestarter by The Prodigy.
4. The Rockafeller Skank by Fatboy Slim.
5. Here It Goes Again by Ok Go.
6. I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas.
7. Waking Up in Vegas by Katy Perry.
8. Don’t Stop Believin’ by Jouney.
9. Beautiful Day by U2
10. Over My Head by The Fray.
You can include any song that makes you feel energized and want to start bopping. In fact, most pop rock has a tempo of around 120bpm so you really can’t go very wrong with most of today’s top 40 hits.
But there is another side to all of this. There are those who claim that listening to music while running can drown out the sounds of your steps and your breathing which are also helpful in motivating you. Another drawback with having music plugged into your ears while running is that it can make you less aware of what’s going on in your surroundings. You need your sense of hearing in sensing any danger that can happen, like cars etc. But the decision of whether you should use music when running is totally up to you. As you can see there are certain benefits to it that can not be denied. Use the songs that we have listed as part of your ultimate running music playlist.
Personally, I almost always run while listening to music. I just take extra care to watch for traffic and other hazards out on the road or the trails. I have found that the benefits of running and listening to music have really helped me get into better shape and increased my performance. Try it for yourself.