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Every time you make a new workout playlist you experience music’s performance-enhancing power. Now science has uncovered new insights that help explain music’s impact on exercise.

Research by Costas Karageorghis, PhD, a sports psychology expert at London’s Brunel University School of Sport and Education, has shown that music works its unique magic on athletic performance in three distinct ways: by increasing the desire to move around rather than sit still, by encouraging people to synchronize their movement with the beat, and by helping to distract people from discomfort. All together, Karageorghis says, this can increase physical endurance by as much as 15 percent.

Next time you hit the gym, make sure your MP3 player is along for the ride.

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