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Get into the groove with your workout!

For most of us taking an iPod and listening to music at the gym is as necessary as taking a towel or a bottle of water. Research conducted over the past ten or so years has shown time and time again that music can benefit those who are exercising on a number of different levels, from increasing endurance, to allowing you to push that extra rep out on the bench press. So how exactly does music increase your gym workout, can Madonna really motivate you and The Red Hot Chili Peppers get you that extra rep? Research on the link between music and exercise dates back to as early as 1911 when an American investigator named Leonard Ayres found that cyclists pedalled faster when there was the presence of a band, compared to when there was no music. Since then, psychologists have conducted numerous studies based on the link between music and exercise and a definite link seems to exist. Research consistently finds that music has the ability to distract athletes from the pain or stress of a hard workout and so can lead to an increase in performance. This may not be the same in the case of Justin Bieber however and it is entirely possible listening to his music may actually cause an increase in pain and discomfort. Justin Bieber aside, music has been described by Costas Karageorphis, a leading expert on the psychology of music at Brunel University as “a type of legal performance-enhancing drug” and it is now generally accepted that music can have a motivational quality that reduces fatigue and boosts performance. Songs can trigger memories and emotions, therefore leading to greater motivation, as well as just generally wanting to make you move and be active via the tempo or beat. We hear our favourite song on the radio and instantly our foot or hand starts to tap, or head starts to nod. These physiological responses work the same at the gym and hearing music we enjoy makes us want to move therefore increasing our willingness and ability to workout effectively. The type of music we listen to can also affect our workouts and the most popular genres included hip/hop, rock and pop. Music is a personal choice however and if you want to bench press and deadlift to Mozart and it distracts you from the boring 10km run you are doing, that’s great! The right music can greatly improve your motivation and endurance while working out and the right playlist, combined with the right attitude and workout plan will get you achieving the goals you want in no time.