Today’s topic is easily debatable. In fact, I often get into the music-while-exercising debate with my closest friends and family members.
Some people find music to be motivating – when feeling fatigued, it gives a bit of am oomph to keep pushing. Others believe it takes away from the joy of the activity. I think everyone’s right.
Personally, up until about a year ago, you would never catch me at the gym without my iPod. In college I used music to focus all my energy inward, rather than paying attention to what anyone else was saying or doing around me. The testosterone-filled weight room somehow seemed less intimidating when I could surround myself with music. I also used music to block out conversation – I wasn’t there to mingle or find a boyfriend, I was there to work on my fitness!
Once I started running in my Vibram FiveFingers, though, I started to pay more attention to my breathing patterns. To connect better with my breath, I often started my runs without music to get into my own rhythm first… then I’d put the headphones on about half-way through to help keep me moving at a good pace. Eventually I stopped using music altogether for my runs – relying solely on my innate pace.
I recently found out that they make mp3 players for swimmers… but I don’t mind swimming laps without music. To be honest, I really appreciate the silence beneath the water. [Plus I just know I’d find a way to somehow electrocute myself.]
Nonetheless, there are definitely times when I do appreciate music while working out. For example:
- during weight sessions – either at home or at the gym. I use the beat to keep a decent pace, plus it definitely helps not get bored with all the monotonous moves.
- while working out the core or stretching – by listening to music, I stay in my stretches longer and find more strength for core-work.
- during group exercise/classes – let’s be honest… the music makes classes like TurboKick and Zumba!
- while doing HIIT or hills – high-intensity interval training and hill-work call for boosts of energy and a fast pace… I find that music helps me in getting my pace up, then also slowing it down.
Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a list of my favorite workout jamz.
Two get-in-gear feel-good songs [these always get me excited for a good workout!]:
Other fast-paced-faves you may not know [but should!]:
-Jurrasic Five [especially the Quality Control album]
-The Cat Empire
-Blue Scholars [especially the OOF! album]
-The Black Keys [+Blakroc!]
And finally, a few options for stretching:
Nizlopi / Nas + Damian Marley / North Highlands / Breakestra / Xavier Rudd
What’s your stance on music while working out? What are you currently jammin out to?
Whether you work out with or without tunes, I hope you make time for a little movement today!
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