Fitness Fun

4 Ways Music Can Help You Lose Weight

Girl Listening to Music While Working Out

I have a confession. A Knight’s Tale is one of my all time favorite movies. And truthfully, it’s mostly because of the soundtrack (although Heath Ledger is a huge bonus too)! I remember seeing it for the first time and rushing out to buy the soundtrack. That’s right. I owned the actual old-school CD. In fact, I have another confession. Almost every song from that CD has made it on my workout playlist at some point in time. And a final confession. Every time a song from A Knight’s Tale comes on, whether I’m working out or not, I can’t help but smile and bust a move in my own personal and slightly pathetic version of dancing.

The Power of Music

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Can you imagine watching a movie without any music in it? Think about it. There would be no intensity. No excitement. Maybe even no interest.

Movie companies pay people big bucks to get the right music into their films because it creates that atmosphere and feelings that you will remember long after the movie is over. I guess you could even say that when it comes to movies, music creates magic.

And guess what? Music can have a similarly magical effect on your workouts. Studies show that music has a positive impact on almost every form of fitness. There’s too many benefits of working out with music to list, but I wanted to share some of my favorites to help you start dreaming up the perfect playlist.

1. Makes Workouts Seem Easier

brunette woman at gym push up push-up

Let’s be honest with each other. Working out isn’t always fun. Sometimes it’s just a matter of checking something off your to-do list or an exercise in self-control. The right music can make a huge difference to your mindset and help change the way you feel about exercise.

Costas Karageorghis, renowned sports psychologist and author, likes to refer to music as “a legal drug.” Karageorghis has spent more than 20 years studying the relationship between exercise and music. He says that “music effectively blocks sensations of fatigue when you’re working out” and his research shows that music contributes to lowering an individual’s level of perceived effort.

2. Positive Distraction

Exercise class

Remember what I said up there? We know that working out doesn’t always seem fun. Especially if it’s something new to you and you have to step outside of your comfort zone just to start. Nothing can help change those feelings of discomfort faster than hearing a great song that reminds you of something else.

Imagine a playlist full of songs attached to memories. You’ll spend your whole workout remembering your first kiss, that day at the beach, or the girls trip to Vegas that still makes you blush. Before you know it, your workout will be over and you’ll wish you were still on your walk down memory lane. Petra Kolber, a spokesperson for the IDEA Health and Fitness Association, says “Music enhances a workout, it makes you work harder without realizing it, and it makes the workout go by faster.”

3. Added Intensity/Improved Endurance

Runners in race

Research conducted at Brunel University has shown that making music a part of your workout can increase your endurance by up to 15%. That’s kind of a big deal–15% more endurance will definitely help you meet your weight loss goals faster and more effectively.

When doing cardio, people have a tendency to move in time with their music. That means they match their cadence and pace to whatever they are listening to, so make sure to keep your music fast and upbeat. If you struggle knowing what songs will help you move and grove a little quicker, take a look at the 100 best workout songs compiled by Fitness magazine.

4. Boosts Weight Loss

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A 2005 study done by Christopher Capuano, director of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s School of Psychology, studied the effects of music on weight loss. The study tracked a group of overweight to moderately obese women for 24 weeks. Using a prescribed program, study participants were required to walk three times a week.

Results: Music and Weight Loss

Half of the participants were allowed to listen to music as they walked, while the other half was not. After six months, researchers found that the music-listening group had greater weight and fat loss success on the program. Participants lost an average of 16 pounds and 4% of their body fat as opposed to the 8 pound/2% average of the non-music group. They were also more dedicated to the program and had a higher success rate for completing the exercises prescribed.

Last Weigh In

Suspenseful stringed instruments might not be playing piercingly when you have to kill a spider. The Rocky theme song probably isn’t blaring in the background when you run up the stairs to stop the toilet from flooding, and Katy Perry’s ROAR may never be the selected soundtrack when you step on a scale to celebrate your success. But, you can make sure to put together a killer playlist that will get you through your workout and help you make a little magic of your own. And, just in case you don’t know where to start, we’ve decided to hook you up with some of our favorite tunes to get you started. Now go ahead and make some magic

What’s YOUR number 1 workout jam?

Check out our Spotify playlist:

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Becca Mathis

Becca Mathis

Writer and expert


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