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The Right Music Really Does Make Your Workout Seem Easier

Curating the perfect playlist can transform a workout from good to great. And now, there’s evidence that the right music could make exercise seem easier.

High-tempo music with at least 170 beats per minute may lower the perceived effort during a workout and increase cardiovascular benefits, according to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

“We found that listening to high-tempo music while exercising resulted in the highest heart rate and lowest perceived exertion compared with not listening to music,” said study author Professor Luca P. Ardigò of the University of Verona in Italy, in a statement.

However, high-tempo music only provided an edge for endurance activities: walking, running, biking. High-intensity exercise, such as weight lifting or HIIT classes, were less effected by upbeat tunes.

It’s important to note this was a very small study of only 19 active women in their mid-20s, so the results don’t offer a comprehensive look at how music enhances cardio performance in all people.

Of course this isn’t the only study looking at how music can boost performance in the gym. Last year, researchers from the University of Osnabrück, sound agency TRO and Amazon Music scanned scientific research to create a “High Performance Playlist.” TRO team lead Daniel Worrings previously told Men’s Health that all good workout music has one thing in common: a strong beat.

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“So if any instrument plays a major role in workout music it is certainly the drums,” he told Men’s Health.

Typically, hip-hop, rock, and electronic music make the best workout jams, according to Worrings.

If you need inspiration for your next gym session, check out the Men’s Health playlists on Spotify.

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