If you’re a fan of HIIT, AKA high-intensity interval training, you know that sprint workouts are awesome because they’re super efficient. Alternating between bursts of hard work and rest, you go from zero to sweat in record time, and then you’re done! There’s no reason to spend an hour on the elliptical when you could finish faster with a 20-minute HIIT workout, right? If you’re not already into HIIT, though, treadmill sprints or a tabata kettlebell workout can feel like absolute torture. Blerg. Lucky for you, science has a suggestion that might make your high-intensity exercise a little more bearable.
A new study recruited 20 men and women who hadn’t done HIIT before to find out how much and under what circumstances they enjoyed the workout. What the research demonstrates is pretty interesting: While none of the participants had a feeling one way or the other about high-intensity exercise before the study, they rate their session of HIIT where they got to listen to music much higher than the one without. It’s logical that music can make working out more fun, but when you’re already rushed for time, you might not be thinking about your perfect playlist.
Because this is a crazy-simple fix, if you haven’t tried it yet, it’s definitely worth a go. The awesome thing about HIIT is that it’s adaptable to pretty much any exercise, from bodyweight faves like burpees and push-ups to sessions on cardio machines like treadmills or rowers. You can even do it with a boxing or dance workout! Plus, HIIT is capped at 30 minutes, making it an amazing option for an already-hectic schedule. “Newer research has established that as little as 10 minutes of intense HIIT, three times per week can elicit meaningful heath benefits,” shares Ph.D. candidate and study co-author Matthew Stork in a press release. “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.” So if you don’t love high-intensity workouts but are short on gym hours, some killer tunes might be the answer.