Running with or without music at higher intensities or for longer distances can be strenuous. Hitting the roads, trails or treadmills with some training tunes can serve as a decent distraction and source of entertainment. The real question is though, is music actually beneficial for running, or is it all a placebo effect?
Multiple studies produced within the past decade have all concluded that music can help alter the rate of perceived effort while on a run by up to ten percent. Music is an external stimuli and it can block some of the messages to your brain indicating fatigue, thus making you feel like you can run faster and for longer periods of time. Music has also been linked to mood elevations, bringing a more positive attitude to running, which can lead to a greater effort by the runner during the exercise. In short, music can make a running workout feel easier.
Does the type of music matter? According to a 2006 study by Edworthy and Warring, YES! The study measured two variables of the type of music: tempo and loudness, and found that the exercising participants had a faster treadmill pace when listening to both louder and faster music. Heart rates and speed of the runner were also heightened.
Overall, music can be a vital method to help motivate someone to run. Some experienced runners prefer no music, but if you are struggling to find the will to lace up the running shoes, adding some tunes to your iPod may be exactly what is needed. And if you don’t like to run, but are wondering if your other cardio workouts will benefit the same way? You bet your buff booty they will!