Listening to music when we work out isn’t anything revolutionary. After all, music gets us “in the zone” and helps us keep pace, among other uplifting things.

But if you think that it doesn’t really matter whether or not you’re plugged in while exercising, here’s the thing: according to a study by Brunel University in London that was published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, listening to music when you’re hitting the gym really makes the process more enjoyable.

The researchers got 24 participants to run 400m at their own pace under one of three conditions: listen to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams for six minutes, listen to a TED Radio podcast about cities or listen to nothing at all.

A device that measures electrical response in the brain was hooked up to every runner. They were later also asked about how good they felt, what they focused their attention on, how alert they felt and how tired they were.

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It was found that those who listened to music enjoyed their exercise 28 percent more than those who listened to nothing at all, and 13 percent more than those who listened to the podcast. Apparently, this was evident in the increase in beta waves in the frontal and frontal regions of the brain’s outer layer.

“We showed that music has the potential to increase beta waves and elicit a more positive emotional state,” said Brunel psychophysiologist and lead author of the study, Marcelo Bigliassi.

“This can be capitalised upon during other forms of exercise and render a given activity more pleasurable. People who struggle to engage in physical activity programmes should select appropriate pieces of music to exercise and see The Way It Makes You Feel.”

So go check out that Michael Jackson song and reorganise your Spotify playlists already. They just might make a real difference to your #fitgoals.

Image: ferli/