No sweat: Does listening to music make exercise easier?
Bryan Chan/Los Angeles Times via Getty By Teal Burrell It seems that listening to some tunes can ease the pain of a workout. In a 2012 paper, Costas Karageorghis at Brunel University London even likened music to a legal, performance-enhancing drug. Listening to tunes while you exercise can improve power, strength and endurance. But your choice of drug matters: achieving the runner’s high might be easiest when the music’s tempo matches your own. It turns out we unconsciously move to the beat of our playlist. When researchers secretly sped up or slowed down music that cyclists were listening to, they quickened or eased their pace accordingly. Choosing songs that match the rhythm at which we cycle or run can make exercise feel easier. A study of runners found that listening to either a metronome or music at a tempo that tallied with their typical stride rates helped them run for longer than they could without music. While the metronome helped them maintain a consistent pace, the runners said music made the workout feel easier. Karageorghis and his team also asked volunteers to cycle at a set pace and listen to music that was either in or out of sync with their pedalling. When the music matched the tempo of their exercise, the cyclists used less energy than when the music was slower. To try this trick,