Turn Up The Intensity By Turning Up The Volume

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Can a good song or playlist on your iPod kick your workout into high gear? Does it matter how loud the music plays? I've always felt more motivated when I have fun music to listen to during my workout. Now new research shows it's not only what's playing, but the volume of the music that could affect the quality of your workout- specifically your strength training regime.

The study involved active women who performed three different exercise tests: one with music set at their preferred level, one with music set just below their preferred level, and one with music set just above their preferred level (assuming it wasn't loud enough to cause hearing damage.)

The result? Regardless of the volume level, listening to music helped the women perform better during their cardio workout and get to their target heart rate. But when it came to strength training, women could perform more repetitions before fatiguing when the music volume was set the loudest. The researchers concluded that music helps pump you up and can distract you from the pain of the workout, allowing you to push through it a little harder than you might have before. Just be careful not to blast the music too much. Prolonged exposure to noise that's too loud can cause hearing loss.

I find that certain songs encourage me to run a little faster, and sometimes if I turn up the volume, I'll push the pace even more. Music has a positive affect on my workouts, whether I'm doing cardio or strength training. I keep a notepad in my car, using it to jot down songs I could picture myself running or lifting to. I prefer listening to mixes of music versus an album of one artist. A few of my favorites right now are songs by Black Eyed Peas and Rihanna.

Do you listen to music while working out? Do you notice that the volume has an affect on your workout? Does it matter if you're doing cardio or strength training? What are some of your favorite workout tunes these days?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


heheh well... I *have* to turn the volume up. I have a 100 decibal hearing loss in one ear and about 75 in the other ("decibals" is the more accurate way to measure hearing loss but it is more or less, roughly equivalent to saying "100%" or "75%" = for most people, good enough.). But... there are some songs, especially if they are heavy with the bass beats (I have perfect hearing in bass - I have been documented by audiologist as having hearing in lower bass tones that most "hearing" people can't hear - "hearing" meaning "those who can hear in the usual frequencies used to produce human speech."... so if a workout song has too much bass, I can feel it to the point that it creates a different kind of pain for me, not just in my ears. This is one reason why I don't like going to some gyms - there's too much reverb and sound is "too live" and I'll actually just get TOO MUCH music, especially when gym has their setting and they aren't budging from how loud or soft it is. Soooo but as for favorites, well, being an old lady, I'm fairly fond of the music from the late 60's and 70's and some early 80's. But I've been known to crank up some ColdPlay (assuming that's not already passe'??) or Usher or Lady Gaga.... Report
Pump it by the Black Eyed Peas is one of my favorites for cardio. I also like the classic Car Wash for cardio. Report
gotta have my fast paced rock tunes while I power walk, without it, it would be just a leisurely stroll lol. Report
I have to have my music. If the music slows down, then I do.

But I take care about de volume Report
I cannot run without my ipod. Music is so important to my workouts that I have several playlists for each distance 5K, 10K and half Report
Music is a great motivator! Also like having all the TVs at the fitness center on a different channel. Report
I run with no music, I enjoy the quiet meditation, but as my runs get longer I might have to incorporate some music so it keeps me motivated. Report
i've lost thirty pounds and i love to do my cardio to music because I know i'm working out at the right pace to burn the correct amount of calories. It motivates me to keep moving Report
I love to listen to OLDIES. YouTube has lots of them. Report
I love love LOVE music. My life is a musical. But when i workout I like it loud (when don't i like it loud?). And quite honestly i love listening to my CAKE cd's when I work out. It keeps me going strong! Report
I could jog without i think but i havent in along time. I've noticed when the song changes my pace sometimes changes so I'm going to tweak my playlist accordingly. Report
I have to have my music. If the music slows down, then I do. I love it loud, fast and with a very strong beat. Report
I *need* music in order to work-out! It gives me the fuel to move and it helps to distract me from watching how much time I already spent working out. I try to pick more up-beat songs and rhythms, though some days if I'm angry and need to release some pent-up energy I'll put on more harder rock. Regardless, if I don't have my music, it's impossible to work out! Report
i can't run without music. period. i just can't do it. and i think it is more of the song than the volume. i have some songs that i get sick of on my ipod. it doesn't matter how loud they are..i am still sick of them and don't get into it. Report
I always need some type of sound when I am working out. Normally I have my I-Pod, but if I am on the treadmill at home I will pop in a movie. Either way, it helps me push myself harder and exercise longer than if I were doing it in silence. :) Report
I don't usually listen to music while I'm working out, but I have noticed that I tend to walk or peddal faster when I have some metal going. I should listen more. Report
I need music to listen to also. I went to the gym once without music (forgot it) and it was torture. I normally go for at least an hour and change the intensity with the music. Without music, I lasted 30 min and was about to die from the boredom!! Report
I like to listen to my ipod whenever I'm on the treadmill. Loud music makes me feel more carefree and the louder the music, the faster I run. I've always wondered if there's a correlation between the two. I also don't have to hear the guy next to me grunt every 5 seconds. :) Report
Listening to music makes my workouts go so much faster. Sometimes I'll set it to shuffle so I never know what's coming next. Other times I pick something particular to listen to & sing along in my head. I love listening to Broadway Musicals & sometimes even opera when I'm on the elliptical or treadmill! Report
My running coach is adamant about us NOT wearing iPods while running. (At least not in both ears.) We have had a couple of "near-misses" of car vs. runner due to the runner not being able to hear the oncoming traffic. I want to have a good run but I don't want to get hit by a car either! Report
I always crank the heavy metal up when doing cardio.

I've tried listening to music while doing resistance training but I didn't like it as much. When I'm working with weights I like to really concentrate on my form and I felt like I did a better job without music. Report
I NEED music to work out! I wouldn't be able to go for as hard or as long as I do without an intense beat to work out to. I especially get bored doing cardio. I can do about two minutes and then I'm so bored I have to stop. Report
I listen to audio books when I work out. I enjoy reading and this is the only way I can do both at the same time! Report
I call my music my "power songs"...it makes the world of a difference listening to music during your workout. It keeps me pumped up and working out at my target heartrate level. Actually before I started listening to music I found it challenging to work up to my target heartrate range. Now I actually have to fight to stay within my range...I'm so pumped up I exceed it!!! My heartrate alarm is always going off to warn me to slow down...that is refreshing for a change! Also, the music makes the hour fly by! I would encourage everyone to use music to spice up your workout especially runners/walkers. Some of my favorite are Neyo's Miss Independent, Shakira's Hips Don't Lie, Blackeyed Peas " Let's Get It Started and Boom Boom Pow and Pump it Up... Report
I dont work out with music because I want to focus on my body and not forget where I'm at and what I'm supposed to be doing while there. I notice that people w/ music wander more often, spend more time resting between sets, tend to zone out and not maintain intensity or change their workouts (especially on machines) Not to mention the likelihood that people dont know what safe noise level is and they are hurting their ears. Finally, safety is also compromised in a gym when you cant hear someone behind you, you're not paying attention to the gym traffic, you cant help someone if they need it or you're on the street exercising and arent aware of your surroundings. Working out with music is somewhat a false sense of adrenalin. What's wrong with being in tune with your body? Report
My BFF told me about hellasound.com - 30 mins of music for $5. You choose your walking/running pace and then you get a custom-made music mix. Very motivational - helps me stay at a steady pace! Report
Listening to Motown hellps me stay motivated to work out. Report
I love to listen to music while I workout and I love to listen to it loud!!!! Report
I've not started an exercising regime yet however one of my goals over the weekend will be to open an itunes account and get some upbeat music onto my ipod thanks for the tip! Report
I always listen to music, and the volume is always loud. I am definately motivated on the elliptical with it. If my IPod isn't charged and I have no music - I definately have a harder time! Report
I listen to music all the time. During work, it takes my mind off of the monotonous jog I'm doing. At the gym, it's something different everyday, but it's loud. I seem to tolerate the treadmill and elliptical a little better when good music is playing! Report
Music motivates me to get up and move and if I raise it up - my kids will come over and join me - then it's a family event! Music also sets the tone when I stretch - if I play a slower paced song I tend to stretch longer. Report
I find i burn more calories with music than without it. Report
I have gone back home to get my ipod if I forgot it. It is a must have, need the music motivation. Report
I do find that music helps me to get into my workout more. I don't like to listen to my music loud, but turning it up a notch at the bottom of a serious hill makes a big difference. I do tend to turn it back down at the top of the hill, however. Report
Hi all!
I find swimming with a waterproof mp3 player very helpful. I swim to the tempo. Viola~ a varied intensity work out. Right now I'm enjoying Spanish guitar!
Whether I listen to music or not mostly depends on my mood. Sometimes I need it to get through a tough workout and sometimes I just want to focus on my thoughts.

I do have to say that I get really bothered by other peoples loud music. Its not a big deal but when I can hear what song you're listening to 2 or 3 machines away... its just so distracting to me when I'm trying to get "in the zone". Report
I totally agree that music pumps up the workout, at least for me. It makes me want to go longer when I have music. Report
I don't listen to music during my workouts. I guess I'll have to get an ipod to kick it up a notch. Report
At curves where I go and exercise they play music and yes it is so much better with the music. You get in the rythem and makes it more fun Report
I love listening to music while I work out, but I don't relish the prospect of going deaf using earbuds, so I put up w/ whatever's on at the gym (which is never to my taste) or just listen to nature when I'm working out outdoors. Report
Personally, I not willing to go deaf just to perform more exercise. I know which songs motivate me to endure and those are the ones I listen to while exercising... Report
I used to love walking to music, but I found those things make me deaf, even on their lowest possible setting that I could hear it. I have to wonder if we are growning a new generation of deaf people plugged into ear buds all the time. Not to mention the danger of not hearing traffic, etc. Report
I love listening to my music. It makes me feel great and it makes my workouts go by faster.

I listen to anything with a beat. Akon, Kanye West, Lady Gaga and lots more. Great blog. Report
When I listen to positive upbeat songs when I'm on the treadmill I can always go longer than if I forget my ipod. And my pace usually keeps up with the song so I create a play list according to what intensity I want to run! Report
Music helps at work, too. (I noticed my supervisor tapping out the percussion to a song i was listening to the other night). The work we all do is very tedious. Report
Idont think just women Report
This is SO true. When I was running this morning towards the end of my run I turned up the volume because a song I really liked was playing and I got a burst of energy and started running faster. Report
The max volume of an ipod is 120 decibels. This is comparable to the sound level at a loud rock concert or sandblasting; it could lead to risk of hearing damage after 7.5 minutes of exposure. Rock out with your favorite workout music, but keep it at medium volume.

From an Washington Post article: "Preliminary data on iPods and similar devices have found lower maximum levels -- above 100 decibels (the noise volume of a chainsaw; risk of hearing damage after two hours), but not higher than 115 decibels (a football game in a loud stadium; risk of hearing damage after 15 minutes), Fligor said. To fully understand the potential impact of these devices, it is important to know that the sound is traveling a tiny distance from your earbud to your eardrum rather than being diffused in a football stadium or concert arena."
You betcha!! Crank up the tunes...really gets you moving. I listen to some really up beat music to keep me moving faster. I believe it gives you something else to think about besides aching knees and other ailments LOL! I always feel refreshed after a good brisk walk listening to my favorite music on my MP3 player! Report