There’s nothing that’ll put a kink in your workout more than when you get to the gym only to realize you’ve left your headphones at home. It can completely throw off your routine, but also really detract from the whole experience. Instead of feeling pumped up to get your sweat on, it can feel kind of like a chore. And no one likes chores.
Aside from enjoyment and distraction, music plays such a vital role in our fitness routine. Ever been losing steam during a run and have a song come on that suddenly gives you an extra surge of energy?
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A recent study by The Music and Theatre Science Department at Ghent University found that music tempos can impact running cadence. It compared 16 amateur runners’ self-paced runs to those that were set to different music tempos. The researchers found that different tempos influenced the runners’ speeds, which could have major health benefits since a faster step rate is linked to injury prevention. Even more interesting, a more upbeat music tempo gave women significantly more pep in their step than it did men.
Additionally, Journal of Strength and Conditioning research has also shown the positive effect music has on one’s workout. One study implemented five randomized conditions during a 5k: motivational songs beforehand; both slow motivational songs and fast motivational songs during the race; calm songs after the 5k; and the run sans music. They found that music not only improved performance, but also accelerated recovery.
So, how do you find the right beat for your running level? Run2Rhythm suggests using the following technique to gauge your running cadence. First, run 15 minutes at a comfortable pace. As you run, choose a foot and count the number of steps taken in a minute. Then multiply that number by two. This allows you to choose the ideal BPM (beats per minute) for your pace.
To give you an extra boost, whether you’re training for a race or just trying to log some more mileage than usual, we compiled this fall running playlist according to your ideal BPM.
Songs in this range are perfect if you’re a beginner or are more experienced and looking to boost your warmup!
For a brisk walk or jog, look for songs with this range to amp up your playlist:
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For sprints to boost your running cadence, aim for a high BPM. Sometimes it’s difficult to find songs that have such a quick tempo, so you can also opt for songs that have half that temp (aka songs in the 70-90 BPM range).