For some people, earbuds or headphones are just as important as sneakers when heading to the gym. If you fall into this category, you’ll be happy to know that scientists now believe music plays a bigger role in your fitness success than you might realize.

According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences music may benefit individuals during exercise. The study, conducted by researchers Kathleen Martin Ginis and Matthew Stork, found that participants were more positive about their workouts if they listened to music during exercise.

“Newer research has established that as little as 10 minutes of intense HIIT, three times per week, can elicit meaningful health benefits,” said Stork, a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. “For busy people who may be reluctant to try HIIT for the first time, this research tells us that they can actually enjoy it, and they may be more likely to participate in HIIT again if they try it with music.”

HIIT, or high intensity interval training, cuts down on time by increasing the intensity of an exercise. The researchers found that participants exposed to HIIT for the first time were not only positive about the exercise regimen, but had a positive attitude overall.

“There has been a lot of discussion in the exercise and public policy worlds about how we can get people off the couch and meeting their minimum exercise requirements,” said Martin Ginis, professor of health and exercise sciences at UBC. “The use of HIIT may be a viable option to combat inactivity, but there is a concern that people may find HIIT unpleasant, deterring future participation.”

Stork said while they studied music’s effect, the study itself hopes to encourage HIIT and to determine if people are open to the type of exercise.

“Our research aims to learn more about people’s perceptions towards HIIT and ultimately determine if people can adhere to these types of exercises in the long term,” Stork said. “With the introduction of HIIT exercise, people may not necessarily require the dreaded 150-minute weekly total.”

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Dr. Amy Lee

Dr. Amy Lee has board certifications in internal medicine, physician nutrition and obesity medicine specialty. She practices internal medicine with a heavy emphasis on nutrition, wellness and weight management. Her Clinical nutrition fellowship training at UCLA has allowed her to incorporate realistic lifestyle modification in all her medicine patients.