If you're in need of some advice on buying gym headphones, and choosing among the best ones, you've come to the right place. Thus, we won't waste much time.
What Makes a Good Pair of Gym Headphones?
There are few things worse than having to constantly readjust your headphones when you’re working out. If you feel like they’re about to fall out, it can really take your mind off what you’re doing and reduce the effectiveness of your workout.
The Perfect Fit
That’s why one of the most important aspects of your headphones must be that they fit snuggly and stay there. In addition, you want your headphones to be super comfortable. There’s no point in having a pair that stays in really well but feels like you’ve got a spiky metal ball in your ear, or headphones that are squeezing your brain.
Most earbuds come with a few different sized rubber ear tips so you can get a good fit, so look out for those. Lighter headphones tend to be more comfortable for workouts, and earbuds that come with ear hooks can improve fit too.
Sound quality matters in headphones. Even if you’re using them during exercise, you know when your favorite song sounds warped and tinny. You can tell if you have good quality headphones because the sound is clean, crisp and well balanced. Instead of all the instruments and noises blending together, you can hear each individually. Some exercise-specific earphones have enhanced bass if that’s what gets you motivated, and quality bass sounds deep and heavy as opposed to blurry.
No doubt about it, you’ll be getting sweaty during your workout and it’s bound to get onto your headphones too. Imagine if your headphones just soaked up all that sweat and got smelly. Gross, right? That’s why sweat resistant materials are a must for workout headphones. If you’re more of a runner, moisture resistant headphones will also be essential in case you get caught in the odd downpour.
Lasting the Distance
If you’re shelling out some money for headphones, you want them to be made of durable materials and last for a while. Headphones are often thrown into your gym bag, get tangled up, squished up and sweaty. They may also take a few hits during your workout, and the most common place where they suffer is the wiring. Keep that in mind when you’re hunting for headphones and look for wide, durable wires and no fiddly bits that may break off.
Noise isolation means that the music coming from your headphones isn’t blasting out to the other people around you or letting in ambient sounds. We all know how annoying that can be if you’re on the outside. Plus, do you really want your fellow gym goers to know that you rock out to Taylor Swift when you lift weights?
If you really need to focus on the task at hand, getting noise-cancelling headphones can help. These block out common sound waves from the world, such as traffic, talking and wind. It gives you increased privacy and gets you in the zone – just don’t use noise cancelling headphones if you’re an outdoors exerciser!
Battery Strength for Wireless Headphones
If you’re opting for wireless headphones that use Bluetooth, these run off batteries. Obviously running out of battery can cut your motivating music short and really affect your workout, so the longer the battery life, the better.
Look for wireless headphones that can get you through at least a few workouts, say 4-5 hours minimum. If you’re into long distance running or are an outdoors sort of person who likes long hikes or bike riding with music, then you may need something more like 8 hours.
People who travel a lot, who use their headphones on planes, or who might not have reliable access to power points for charging need seriously good battery life. Look out for headphones that have a quick charge time too!
Earbuds vs. Over-Ear Gym Headphones
In general, over-ear headphones don’t fit as snuggly as earbuds and can get very hot and sweaty with the way they clamp over your ears and hair.
Since they’re bigger and heavier than earbuds they’re more noticeable and bounce around more. They can also slide right off during certain inverted movements – think about sit ups hanging from a bar, or downward dog positions in yoga.
For a workout, earbuds win out over headphones nearly every time. They’re light, compact, have less chance of moving around and falling off (assuming you got a good fit) and are usually cheaper so you don’t mind getting them sweaty and throwing them in your gym bag.
Are there any plusses to over-ear headphones? Well, yes. They often have better noise isolation and cancellation over earbuds, so if sound quality is a deal breaker for you, opt for the headphones. Some people also love the look of over-ear headphones too and will deal with the downsides in the name of style.
Of course, over-ear headphones can be fine if your main forms of exercise are slower and more controlled, like walking. But for any form of exercise with fast movements, bouncing or inversions – earbuds reign supreme.
Bluetooth/Wireless vs. Wired
Wired headphones certainly are a tried and trusted method. They’re quick and simple – plug them in to your device and you’re good to go almost immediately. No syncing or struggling to find your device via Bluetooth. Wired headphones also tend to be cheaper.
The only downsides are that the cords are often the first thing to break on headphones, and they sure can get tangled. Worse, wired headphones can get caught on things, leading to them being unceremoniously yanked out of your ears.
In contrast, wireless headphones that work via Bluetooth provide ultimate freedom – no wires flopping around your face or having to be threaded through your jacket.
There’s something very cool about putting in your earbuds and hearing music with no wires attached. Plus, the wireless connection distance can be as big as the gym room (depending on the headphones) so you don’t even have to carry your phone around to every piece of equipment.
So why doesn’t everyone use wireless headphones? Well, for starters, they’re more expensive than their wired counterparts. Plus they can be more hassle with syncing up your device. But the main drawback is that wireless headphones need to be kept charged to work.
They don’t just draw from your phone or music player’s battery, they need to be charged separately and this can be really annoying if they have a short battery life or a large charge time.
In the end, which is best for you depends on what aspects you find the most important to you and the sorts of exercise you do.
Mountain bikers or people who regularly run and hate having wires flicking around may like wireless headphones, while people who go on long hikes or enjoy spontaneous fitness may prefer the simplicity and reliability of their wired headphones. It’s your workout, and only you will know the specifics that suit your style.
Importance of Music During Working Outs
Wearing headphones to the gym can be an important part of your workout for a few reasons. Most gym’s have pretty bad music, not everyone is into the mainstream “whatever’s on the radio” as their workout music.
If you’re like us, you prefer to get in the zone with jams of your choosing and not chosen for you.
Another important reason of wearing headphones is to keep you from getting distracted by all the miscellaneous noise that is contained with the gym walls. You know very well of the many gym characters that roam the venue, and if you’re going to get the maximum out of your workouts, you’ll need to stay focused.
Staying focused means staying on track to achieving your goals and the gains you’re there for. Yes, we all want to socialize, and sometimes a public gym is definitely better than a home gym.
But, most people are there for the equipment and the gains; wearing some of the best gym headphones will shield you from “the talkers.”
Benefits of Headphones In the Gym
There are many, many, benefits of wearing headphones to the gym and listening to music while working out. You know that music makes you feel good, but there is science behind that good fell of music. When you are working out, and your blood is running, the effects are intensified and can be felt more vividly.
Before we take a look at the benefits of wearing headphones to the gym and listening to music, it’s important to note, however, that not ALL types of music is beneficial to you.
If the music is too jarringly loud, it can distract us, and the whole point of us listening to the music while working out was to maintain concentration.
But for the most part, music is our friend, especially the brilliantly composed classical music.Let’s look at some of the surprising effects of music on us and how music directly affects us and promotes good health.
- Music helps with pain relief
- Music boosts immunity
- Can serve as its own kind of medicine for the heart
- Music is a fatigue fighter
- Improves mood and decreases depression
- Can serve as a remedy for migraines and chronic headaches
- Music can make you smarter and improves memory performance
- Gym music improves concentration and attention
- Music can improve body movement and coordination
As we can clearly conclude from some of the benefits of listening to gym music listed above, music is good for the healing of our soul, and wearing headphones for the gym might not be such a bad idea after all.
Frequently Asked Questions on Gym Headphones
These are some of the common queries you'll hear when it comes to finding a good pair of headphones for working out.
How Do Good Headphones Work?
A great question, better left to the engineers among us. But let’s try to answer this from a non technical perspective as to the, because we do not want to bore you with the process by which magnetism converts electrical energy into sound and thereby producing the beautiful volume adjustable sound in your ears.
The biggest difference that we will focus on, traditionally speaking, is the lack of wires in gym earphones. For good reason too, we don’t need them getting in the way of our workouts.
But wireless gym headphones do not communicate the signals the traditional way, that is, by carrying the signal through the wire.
Most modern wireless gym headphones utilize Bluetooth technology, but all wireless headphones utilize radio or infrared signals to communicate the information. See?! We knew you’d get bored! But if you’re interested in learning more, read more about how wireless headphones work and also how to connect them.
Will Wearing Them Affect My Hearing?
Wearing wireless headphones to the gym or any gym headphones for that matter, will only adversely affect your hearing if you continuously blast overly loud music into your ears.
Essentially, the answer to this question lies in your hands. You have the control to listen responsibly or irresponsibly, and for most people, the choice is an easy one.
It’s also important to note here that studies have been done by Dr. John Diamond that have shown the “stopped anapestic beat” of rock music to have cause strength/weakness in the muscles of subjects exposed to this type of music.
Music from such artists as Led Zeppelin, Queen, and Alice Cooper among others. Dr. Diamond was able to show a connection between irregular beats in rock music and shrill frequencies can cause harm to the body.
5 Tips to Improve Your Earbud Fit
It’s common to have problems getting the right fit with earbuds, but not anymore with these tips!
- Get the right sized ear tip. Most earbuds come with a few different sized rubber ends, called ear tips. Try out a few different ones and see what works for you. And remember that each of your ears could be a different size!
- Get the right ear tip material. When you’re working out, you sweat, and this can make those rubber ear tips slippery. To stop them from sliding out of your ears, you can get non-slip ear tips. These usually come separately to the headphones but can be the solution to constantly slipping ear tips. If you don’t want to buy something separately, then look out for headphones with foam ear tips, as these tend to stay in more than rubber or silicone ear tips.
- Put them in right. Nearly everyone pushes the ear bud in and thinks that’s the end of the story. But they’re wrong! Michael Calore from Wired says that there’s a certain technique to getting the right seal for in-ear headphones – and that getting it wrong means your sound quality is suffering. To get it right, push the tip into your ear a little bit. Then use your opposite hand to pull down your earlobe and push the tip in a little further. As you release your ear lobe, it should create a proper seal. The result is louder music with better bass and less interference from outside noise.
- Angle them for your ears. People typically insert ear buds so they face directly into your head. But your ear canals angle forwards and upwards, so it makes sense to angle your ear tips in the same direction!
- Reduce cable noise. The Headphone List explained that cable noise happens when your wired headphone cords rub up against something, such as clothing. This can be reduced by wearing the cables over the back of your ears instead of letting them hang straight down, or by raising the cinch cable (if your headphones have them). Wearing the cable under clothing or over your back instead of the front can also help a lot.
How Do I Keep My Gym Headphones Clean?
Haven’t we all thrown our sweaty headphones into our (even sweatier) gym bag before, only to find them in a jumbled mess later? No matter what amount of cash you’re spending on headphones, it’s great to get your money’s worth out of them. To keep your headphones lasting as long as possible, look after them well with these tips and tricks:
- Keep them in a case or bag when not in use.
- Consider hanging them on a stand to help air them out and minimize their contact with dirty surfaces.
- Wipe down all surfaces with a microfiber cloth.
- Keep your headphones away from direct sunlight, high temperatures and humidity.
- Avoid using them in the rain.
- Don’t wrap them around your phone or MP3 player as it can damage the cable.
- Don’t leave them plugged in as it strains the plug and cable.
- Opt to loosely coil the cable.
- Clean the earbuds and ear tips regularly so that ear junk doesn’t build up.
- Clean your ears! Less wax in your ears means less on your headphones.
Now that you know the best style of headphones for you, and how to properly fit them and keep them clean – it’s time to find out the best wired and wireless headphones on the market today!
The Final Note
There we have it, now you are well equipped to not only choose the best gym headphones out on the market this year, but you know so much more about the benefits of music while working out as well.
We encourage you not to be thrown off by the numbers on this list, truth is, any and all products on this list should get the job done for you, it’s a matter of preference at this point.
Make sure to check back on this article, as we will be adding or subtracting items on this list and making monthly updates as the ever swift tech industry moves ahead.
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