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Listening to music while exercising has psychological roots

Having music playing while working out has become as much a staple of exercise as used sports equipment. While many people assume that listening to tune during a run on the treadmill or while lifting weights is simply a distraction from the task at hand, a growing body of evidence suggests that music may actually serve a critical role in the science of working out, reports the Scientific American.

Distraction certainly plays a part in the benefits of listening to music while running or performing other strenuous exercises - experts say it takes a person's mind off the challenges or pain associated with the activity - but there's more to it than that. In fact, some research has suggested that human bodies are predisposed to reacting to certain kinds of music. According to the publication, humans are naturally set at a tempo of about 120 beats per minute (bpm), so it's not surprising that researchers from Ghent University found 120 bpm is the most prevalent pulse of thousands of songs recorded between 1960 and 1990. 

"We are almost hardwired to appreciate music aesthetically," Costas Karageorghis, an expert on the subject, told the publication. 

A recent poll of nearly 200 college students revealed findings that seemed to mesh with that theory. Researchers found that hip hop, rock and pop music - three genres with high bpms - were the most popular choices. 

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