Listening to music and videos while you work out can distract you from how hard you’re working, improving performance

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(Natural News) Listening to music or watching a video while working out can distract you from how tough your routines truly are, according to a report that appeared in the Journal of Sport and Health Science.

The study, led by researchers for the University of North Carolina, assessed whether listening to music, watching a video, or a combination of both affects the attentional focus and ratings of perceived exertion when a person engages in a high-intensity workout. When a person has an attentional focus, he or she focuses on bodily sensations, such as breathing patterns, rhythm in movement, feelings of fatigue in the muscles, and heart rate.

Fifteen healthy men were recruited by the researcher for the trials. In the first session, the participants finished a maximal fitness test to determine the most suitable workload for the high-intensity workout in the following sessions. After four days, they performed 20 minutes of a high-intensity workout either in a no-treatment control condition, while listening to music, watching a video, or a combination of listening to music and watching a video. The researchers recorded the participants’ attentional focus, ratings of perceived exertion, heart rate, and distance covered every four minutes of the exercise.

The study showed that a combination of listening to music and watching video led to significantly lower ratings of perceived exertion. This meant that participants believed that they exerted less than what they were actually doing. Moreover, this led to a significantly more dissociative focus compared to the other interventions. Simply put, music and video distracted them from how hard they were exercising.


In conclusion, the findings of the study suggested that listening to music and watching a video while doing a high-intensity workout may lower a person’s perceived exertion and distract them from how hard their workout is.

“The findings of this study make an important extension to the literature by demonstrating that music and video can be used in combination to reduce RPE [ratings of perceived exertion] even when exercising at a high intensity,” the researchers wrote.

Listen to music while exercising to boost your endurance

If you want to run longer and boost your endurance, listening to music while exercising is the key. This was based on a separate study conducted by researchers from Texas Tech University.

This study involved 127 individuals who were tasked to perform a routine electrocardiogram (ECG) treadmill stress test to assess their heart rate. For the test, they ran for as long as they can while hooked up to a heart monitor. Half of them wore headphones and listened to fat Latin music, while the other half only wore headphones with no music playing.

Results showed that participants who ran while listening to music ran for eight and a half minutes, which was 51 seconds longer than those who did not.

The researchers stated that music acts as a great motivator during exercise as it improved mood and stimulated feel-good and energy-boosting chemicals in the brain. They also believed that doctors should encourage their patients to listen to music as a means to help them exercise. (Related: Don’t have an hour to work out — how about three minutes? Experts say high intensity is effective but warn that you may love it)

“Our findings reinforce the idea that upbeat music has a synergistic effect in terms of making you want to exercise longer and stick with a daily exercise routine,” said Waseem Shami, lead researcher of the study.

If you’d like to read more news stories and studies on fitness and exercise, you may go to today.

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