Headphones and earbuds have become a bit of a status symbol and a definite style statement in recent years, but just because the sound quality is amazing or they look great during your morning commute doesn’t mean they are meant for a workout. Making the right choice for your exercise routine can keep you comfortable and give your run or gym session a boost. Check out this rundown of my favorite “ear candy” and see which style works for you.
1. JayBird Freedom: This is the perfect choice for the active person seeking "freedom" (pun definitely intended) from cord entanglement. You know that feeling, when your cord seems to swing into your face with each forward step? Big distraction that you don’t need. The team at Jaybird must be avid fitness buffs, as their buds are also sweat-proof and offer a lifetime guarantee.
2. Beats By Dr. Dre: Dr. Dre gives you the real studio effect with these earphones. Aesthetically, beats take the trophy. And for those of you who want to enjoy crystal-clear audio quality while buffering any outside noise (i.e. gyms that blast their music), then Beats Executive is the perfect choice. But buyer beware: They’re a bit pricy.
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3. Yurbuds Ironman Focus Pro: I figured that anything with "ironman" in its name must be a good contender for strength and durability, so I put the Yurbuds to the test! For the individual looking for a solid running bud at a lower cost, these are a great choice. Yurbuds are sweat-resistance while staying under $60.00. You might feel like you have to push the buds back into your ears every so often, but they still offer quality performance.
4. Sennheiser MX 680 Adidas Sports Earbud Headphones: Sprinting into the headphone race, these take on the competition with a secure fit that does not pop out, even during vigorous exercise. The quality and simple control features makes music selecting easy, even during an intense workout.
Now that you have your headphones picked out, load your iPod wisely. Studies show that people can handle much tougher workloads when listening to music that builds tempo from slow to fast rather than maintaining a consistently fast beat.
The wrong choice of workout music could also put a damper on your performance. Researchers have found that when subjected to music they dislike, exercisers' blood vessels constrict just 6 percent in 30 minutes, reducing overall aerobic capacity by more than 10 percent. When exercisers listen to music they enjoy, their blood vessels expand 26 percent, resulting in a 34 percent performance boost.
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To get you started, here are five of my favorite heart-pumping workout songs. Add them to your playlist—only if you like them of course!
1. One Republic: Good Life
2. Joan Jett: Bad Reputation
3. Ramones: Be Sedated
4. Fun: Some Nights
5. Foo Fighters: My Hero