Listening to music during a workout or any extended, physically demanding activity can reduce fatigue and improve performance. New research published in Psychophysiology shows that as individuals work out, their attention gradually shifts from the activity around them to internal sensations. Over an extended period, this attention shift creates a sense of exertion. Listening to music while exercising can help shift focus away from the internal fatigue and back to the external world.
Researchers from the UK’s Brunel University and University of London tested 19 healthy adults that performed two physical exertion tests while listening to either music or silence. The scientists monitored brain activity using EEG and measured task performance. While listening to music, participants showed both reduced fatigue and decreased stress-related brainwaves. They also performed their tasks more effectively than they did when music wasn’t being played.