Listening to a self-curated playlist during a workout can help you push further.
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Songs that inspire you may boost performance, increasing feelings of self-esteem, which helps you have faith that you can overcome any challenge, says study co-author Paul Elvers, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, Germany. “It could also put you in a headspace where you’re more optimistic that risks will succeed rather than fail,” he explains. That’s why you might be more likely to aim for a three-pointer instead of a safer two-point shot on the basketball court (as seen in the study), try to clear the higher box during a plyo class, or leap across the widest part of the stream on a trail run.
However, if you’re having an off day, listening to your motivational tunes might just remind you how uninspired you’re feeling right then, “highlighting the discrepancy between actual and ideal self,” as Elvers puts it, and lead to a sub-par workout.