Music for Your Workout –
Taking Your Fitness Soundtrack With You
These days, it seems that everyone is “plugged in” all the time. They're on the phone as they walk, talk, and go about their daily routines. Similarly, at the gym, everyone seems to wear headphones and are dialed in to their own private world. However, listening to music while working out isn’t just an exercise (no pun intended) in shutting out the world. The interplay of exercise and music has long been a subject of much speculation, and recently, serious research. In fact, studies have found that music is a positive distraction while exercising. It helps exercisers disassociate from the pain in their bodies and the power of “being in the zone” motivates individuals to work harder. In short, music really can help you get more out of your workout.
Players for Your Workout Soundtrack
The days of the cumbersome Walkman and oversized stereos are long gone. Now, music comes in pocket-sized miniature form. For working out, you have a lot of options, from listening to your own music stored on your smartphone or other music player, like an iPod (yes, they still make the iPod) to pulling it in from one of dozens of online streaming services. Either way, you should never want for distracting entertainment while you get fit. And music players won't break your wallet. You can still find a perfectly functional iPod shuffle, for example, for well under $50.
In addition to your music player, you'll need a small pair of headphones or earbuds, because no one wants to hear you blasting your music all over the gym. Any pair of headphones will get the job done, but you’ll find your workouts will be made easier if you invest in a pair of compact headphones or earbuds suited to exercise. Pick whatever is most comfortable and will sit snugly in your ears. In-ear earbuds or over-the-ear headphones are both good options. If you really want to get fancy, a pair of wireless headphones or earbuds will save you the annoyance of dangling wires while you work out.
Managing Your Music on the Go
It has never been easier to take your music with you, wherever you go. The choices are mind boggling, but there are two obvious choices for listening to your workout soundtrack. You can either listen to music you own, songs you've purchased online or ripped from CDs, for example – or you can live-stream your music from an online music service. The former option is great if you have a lot of music on your computer, or have old CDs you want to listen to. Just pop the CDs into your computer and "rip" them to your music software. Then download them to your music player and viola! Your ready to get fit to the theme from Rocky. Or, the dulcet tones of Céline Dion. Pick your poison. The exact process will vary depending on your particular hardware and software, but you get the picture.
Music for Your Workout – Choices Are Almost Endless
If that just sounds like too much effort, you can use your smartphone to "stream" music from an online music service. This is a great way to get lots of variety into your music choices, and also great for discovering new music. Not sure what program to invest in? Here are just a few top picks.
- Spotify – Spotify is currently the king of music applications. With Spotify, you can find and listen to any song you like. You can also form playlists, listen to playlists made by other users, and share music with friends and others. The free version is online only (i.e. your phone has to be connected to the Internet or have a data plan) and you’ll have to endure the occasional commercial. You also can only skip so many tracks. The paid version, which costs $10 a month, brings you higher-quality music, unlimited track skips, the ability to listen to music offline, and other benefits. If you’re not sure which version is best for you, you can try the 3 month trial of Spotify premium, which costs just 99 cents.
- Apple Music – Apple Music is a subscription-based music streaming service, like Spotify, offering access to over 50 million songs. It's packed with features, including offline listening for when you're not connected, and it combines all your music in one place - even songs ripped from a CD. Apple Music costs $9.99 per month, or $14.99 per month for a family subscription for up to six people (which requires iCloud Family Sharing). College students can subscribe for only $4.99 per month.
- Pandora – Pandora is an online music radio application. You use it by selecting certain singers or types of music you want to listen to. Then Pandora forms a customized playlist based around your selections. Pandora is a good option for those wanting to discover new music or someone who wants something pre-curated. Pandora is free, and has limited commercials. A commercial-free option costs about $10 a month.
- SoundCloud – SoundCloud is a huge collection of songs from both mainstream artists and lesser known ones. Many artists get “discovered” on SoundCloud. If you want original versions of popular songs, you’ll want to steer towards something else, because SoundCloud is best for finding new, undiscovered artists and for listening to remixes. The bonus, though, is that SoundCloud is 100% free.
This just scratches the surface of the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of choices when it comes to packing up the music for your workout and hitting the road (or the treadmill). There are also iTunes, Amazon Prime, and many, many others. The point is, you have options. Pick the one that works for your lifestyle, musical tastes and equipment, and start working out to your own private soundtrack. You may discover that of all your fitness accessories, music is one of your favorites. You'll probably enjoy working out more and may even work out longer each time. Get on your running shoes and rock on!
RX Fitness Can Help with All Your Equipment Needs
If you're looking for a great selection of fitness equipment and accessories, we carry the top brands to fit every goal and budget. And, for some great advice about equipment and accessories, don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.