Enhancing Sports Performance Through The Use Of Music

When listening to music while performing sports, in addition to stimulating our auditory senses, we also activate sensors in our brains that awaken different emotions. We also use both hemispheres of the brain, which helps us to reinforce learning.
Enhancing Sports Performance Through The Use Of Music

Last update: 21 December, 2018

Strength, intensity, and resistance are words related to sports performance, but pop, reggae, and electronica can also be related to performance in sports. Yes, music makes a difference! Read on and discover the role of music to increase your performance in sports!

The effects of music, in general, is to modify the mood and develop creativity. Now, what happens if the music is incorporated into sports training? What you are about to read will help you create a music playlist to listen to the next time you exercise.

The relationship between music and exercise

In 2006, a study (The effects of music tempo and loudness level on treadmill exercise, by Judy Edworthy and Hannah Waring) showed how the participants who listened to upbeat music while exercising, increased their pace and ran farther without becoming as tired. Thus, music increases the pressure to advance and achieve greater performance.

Woman enhancing her sports performance with music.

Also, the tempo of the music influences our stimulation and motivation to exercise. That is, the rhythm of the music must match the exercise that you’re doing. For example, if you’re going to run or do burpees you want to listen to upbeat music, and in this way maintain a connection between the execution of the exercise and what you are doing.

Increase your performance

In addition to rhythm and synchronization with movement, the lyrics of the song also influence athletic performance. Listening to lyrics that promote positive aspects, or lyrics you can identify with, create a bond between the song and the feelings it produces in you. In turn, this encourages you to make an effort during the exercise.

There is a study by psychologist C. Karageorghis which stipulates that music can reduce fatigue or increase the ability to work. According to this study, music can increase (more than expected) the levels of productivity, strength, and endurance.

Likewise, listening to music while you train distracts you from the pain or fatigue you may feel during training. Since you’ll concentrate on the music, its rhythm, the lyrics, and how much you enjoy it, you will increase your performance and it’s easier to divert feelings of pain or fatigue.

Music promotes the movement of the body, the need to feel the music and make it visible, in this the dance is based, and other successful training such as Zumba fitness. For this reason, some gyms play music. Precisely because music plays a very important role, stimulates the brain to release serotonin, known as the ‘feel good’ hormone, this way people enjoy and have fun doing exercise.

Build better muscle memory

This is often how dancers learn choreography. As time goes by, if they hear the same music again, they may still remember their routine. Since the movements of their bodies go in unison with the song, and those movements are fixed in their brains to the rhythm of the music.

This also happens with sports, whether it’s learning new exercises or trying a new routine. Music will establish a connection between what you do, and your brain will associate music with exercise.

Woman using headphones to enhance her sports performance.

Get inspired

Many things happen in your brain when you listen to music, including emotional responses to what you hear. This means that not all music will increase your sports performance. Evidently, songs that bring you a bad memory or with an unpleasant rhythm won’t have the desired effect.

So the most advisable thing is to choose songs that go with the exercise. You can even start listening to music before training and in this way gradually enter the exercise environment. When you finish training you can listen to slow songs while you stretch and relax.

Also, if you’re going to listen to music with headphones, remember to turn down the volume during high-intensity exercises. This is to protect your ears from the pressure. Take advantage of the increase in sports performance that music can offer you. Make a good playlist and get motivated!


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.