Music lifestyle company Sol Republic recently conducted a “Music Snapshot” survey in which they asked people about their listening preferences and the role of music and headphones in their daily lives. The findings led them to effectively label millennials (those born from roughly 1982 to the early 2000’s) as the “Headphone Generation.”
More than half of the respondents said they own at least three pairs of headphones—different kinds for different activities—and wear them nearly four hours a day. It seems that headphones have become almost as indispensable as smart phones.
Nearly 20 percent of respondents who listen to music the most said they would gladly give up a meal a day instead of their music. Sol Republic also found that two out of three people would cut their workout short or ditch it completely rather than go without their headphones. Sixty-two percent would rather go a whole day without human interaction than sacrifice their music. “Without music to push you through the last mile of your run, the all-night cram session or the daily grind, life just wouldn’t be the same,” said Seth Combs, co-founder of Sol Republic.
Music can push you to work harder and boost your performance and endurance. One study found that music can actually reduce the perceived intensity of pain and significantly reduce stress. Likewise, the great thing about wearing headphones during a workout is that it brings your attention to the music and away from the discomfort of physical exertion.
The results of another study, which looked at post-exercise recovery in young adults, showed that listening to music hastens post-exercise recovery. The American Heart Association has even reported on the possibility that music can enhance blood vessel function, contributing to cardiovascular health.
Besides pumping you up for your workout, music also helps athletes unwind and relax; but it can also be a way to tune out those around you. In the Music Snapshot, 73 percent of millennials admitted to using their headphones to avoid interaction with other people.
Sports psychologist Rob Bell makes the case that training without headphones also has advantages, such as building mental preparation and toughness. A workout sans music could give you an opportunity to stay connected (and be present) with your teammates, as well as to stay in touch with your own body and breathe. So although music can be a powerful motivator during tough stretches of a workout, you might want to experience a music-free workout once in a while—especially if you are willing to go hungry for the day instead of leaving your headphones at home.