How Music Really Affects Your Workout

New science suggests it's all about that bass.

You might have heard that music makes exercise feel easier, but unfortunately, the only proof has come from research involving moderate-intensity, steady-state cardio, i.e., on the elliptical. (On that note: Props if you can physically get through an entire elliptical session with nothing but your own thoughts—it's brutal.)

There is, however, a study recently published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise suggesting that a great playlist can help get you through hardcore interval training—which is much harder than low-key endurance training and, as you might guess, delivers awesome results more efficiently than steady-state cardio.


In the study, 20 active adults did two series of cycling sprint intervals: one while listening to music they selected, and one without music. Afterward, researchers measured the cyclers' power output, ratings of exertion, and enjoyment. While the tunes didn't make the workout feel less difficult (told you it was hard!), people actually worked out at a higher intensity when they listened to music. No surprise here, but the cyclers also said that music made their workouts more enjoyable. Researchers say that rhythm may physiologically prep your body to take on intervals and help distract you from the inevitable discomfort of sweating like a beast.

To bring the science home, try this music video playlist with a DIY cycling workout, or another of Cosmopolitan.com's awesome workout playlists.

Also, have you seen Cosmo.ph's workout playlist on Spotify?

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors. 


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