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Half of the sense of security in working out is from headphones

Aug 31,2023 | David

Half of the sense of security in working out is from headphones, and the other half comes from music. Today, people seem to have gradually developed a kind of “obsessive-compulsive disorder”: it is difficult to go to the gym without wearing headphones. The sense of security of working out enthusiasts comes from the full battery of the headphones and a well-arranged satisfactory playlist. Whether it is forgetting to wear headphones or the headphones running out of power midway, it is a double torture of body and mind. The fighting spirit that was just aroused by music suddenly becomes unbearable with the sudden stop of music - today’s training ends here.

A certain American headphone brand once conducted a survey, and two-thirds of the respondents would shorten their training time or terminate their training without wearing headphones. In the gym, more and more people are dependent on headphones. Addicted to listening to music, ignoring external sounds, needing motivation, not wanting to talk…

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The reasons for wearing headphones during working out may vary from person to person, but ultimately, they still return to the original purpose: to improve training efficiency and enhance athletic performance. Not only do working out enthusiasts need headphones, but headphones also need working out enthusiasts. The people and things in the gym are a two-way rush that depends on each other for survival.

On the one hand, mainstream smartphone brands are launching more and more sports-friendly headphones, such as Anker and ZBONES launching neck-mounted headphones to attract sports crowds; on the other hand, some headphone brands that focus on sports sub-labels also occupy a place in the sports market, such as Wissonly, IKXO, SHOKZ, etc., open up the situation with bone conduction headphones.

The huge base and consumption power of sports people constitutes their main reason for attracting headphone manufacturers. Fortune Business Insights believes that the growth of the sports industry has led to more sports enthusiasts around the world, and the continuous development of the music industry has also produced more listeners of different music types worldwide. This trend is undoubtedly a driving force for the continued expansion of the working out headphone market.

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The history of the development of working out headphones

The history of headphones being closely accompanied by working out can be traced back to 1972 when German Andreas Pavel invented the prototype of the world’s first Walkman. The Walkman allowed music to transcend spatial constraints, and for the first time, humans could still enjoy music alone while their bodies were moving. The Walkman has a deep connection with sports, due to the popularity of disco halls and jogging in the 1980s, the Walkman was once called the Disco Jogger. More interestingly, according to Time magazine, during the global popularization of Walkman, that is, between 1987 and 1997, the number of people walking for exercise increased by 30%.

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Returning to the present, working out enthusiasts’ current demand for headphones is mainly focused on three aspects: comfort, sound quality, and stability. Currently, popular working out headphones on the market are mainly divided into two categories: in-ear and bone conduction. In-ear headphones include neck-mounted headphones and true wireless headphones. In-ear headphones may have a better sound quality experience, but due to friction or collision with external objects causing noise, a “stethoscope effect” may occur during exercise. Bone conduction headphones do not need to be inserted into the ear and are relatively more conducive to ear canal hygiene. At the same time as listening to music, you can also listen to environmental sounds. The safety of outdoor scenes is higher than that of in-ear headphones; but on the other hand, users wearing glasses may be hindered by the frame. In the end, which category to choose depends on the user’s comprehensive consideration of their own priority needs. Considering that you may sweat a lot during exercise, waterproof performance is the foundation of working out headphones.  

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Different from using in leisure scenes, there is a relatively large range of movements during working out. Therefore, on top of the general user’s demand for comfort and sound quality, working out enthusiasts have an additional layer of stability requirements, that is, “not falling off.” Battery life is also an important part of stability. It must be sufficient to cover the entire exercise time - after all, no one wants to accompany them when they are rushing heavy weights at critical moments. The accompaniment suddenly stops and loses power instantly.

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Headphones are the source of motivation, and the source is music.

There are usually several reasons for listening to music while exercising:

(1) Stay focused and refuse to be disturbed.

In various sports competitions, we often see athletes wearing headphones to listen to music before the game, to reduce noise interference on the field and quickly enter a focused game state. During the Beijing Winter Olympics, some skiers, such as Chinese athlete Su Yiming, even wore headphones during the competition to adjust their state to the best, listening to music while completing their movements.

On the other hand, headphones also benefit general working out enthusiasts and can be regarded as gospel for gym social anxiety - users can not only avoid the sales disturbance of commercial gyms but also effectively alleviate the entanglement and embarrassment of whether to respond to strangers’ conversations. Once you put on your headphones, you can block out the sound of human voices and the impact of equipment, and not-so-pleasant shouts, and focus on your current training rhythm. In this situation, whether or not music is playing in the headphones is no longer important. Just by its physical existence itself, it sends a clear message of “not wanting to engage in conversation”.

(2) Music is very important for working out.

In group working out gyms, different routines for each project are usually accompanied by corresponding playlists. When some popular classic tracks are played, there will be scenes where the coach and students sing while practicing.

Dan Cohen, director of Les Mills BODYCOMBAT, said: “Music can control the rhythm, feeling, length, drama, and intensity of action choreography.” SpaceCycle, a gym that focuses on small group classes such as yoga and Pilates, also combines exercise content with unique playlists, offering music-themed courses to form its characteristics.

But for most free trainers in the gym, it is still a bit difficult to happen to hear their favorite background music played by the gym while training. On social media, there is no shortage of working out enthusiasts complaining about the terrible playlists in the gym. Music that is not to their taste equals noise, which disrupts their mood and rhythm and affects their training state.

Therefore, good music is like a decent sparring partner: it must play the role of an encourager that stimulates potential, but it must be just right and stop at the right time, not overwhelming and distracting the trainer.

(3) Listening to the right song can improve athletic performance.

Listening to the right song is like taking a mental nitrogen pump, the more you practice, the more energetic you become. Research shows that choosing to exercise with a self-selected playlist can increase the rate of progress in endurance and strength. Music has been proven to be effective for various sports such as strength training and circuit training.

Music can also divert human attention from fatigue - the higher the RPE value reflecting subjective fatigue, the stronger the fatigue. Scientists have found that if music is listened to during exercise, its RPE value is significantly lower than when no music is listened to during exercise. In his book Inside Sports Psychology, sports psychology professor Costas Karageorghis mentioned that music can improve a person’s athletic performance by 10%-15%.

It can be said that music is a legal stimulant to improve athletic performance.

According to the listening preferences of multiple interviewed sports enthusiasts, among various types of music, hip-hop has the highest mention rate. Research also shows that people choose to listen to faster-paced music when exercising and prefer more intense music types such as hip-hop, rock, and pop.

Cycling enthusiast Mattie told GymSquare that listening to music can maintain cadence and a relatively excited mood. Usually, she listens to Rap when riding fast and listens to her favorite songs when riding slowly, so she can sing along. NN said that she likes to listen to rap songs while climbing, feeling “I am the best in the world, V6 is used for practice.”

In addition, she will also collect heartwarming songs heard in group classes and listen to them when exercising alone. Some respondents said that they would not prepare a fixed playlist in advance, but choose to listen to the system’s recommendations on the day, but they definitely switch songs if they hear something inappropriate, otherwise it will affect their training state.

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In fact, due to different preferences, trainers naturally have subjective preferences for songs. Even under the same playlist of music software, there are often polarized comments such as “finally found a rhythm that suits me” and “not good at all.”

How to scientifically find the most suitable playlist for your training? A key indicator is the BPM (beats per minute) of music. In this regard, American technology media CNET has given a suggestion:

Yoga, Pilates: 60-90BPM

Power Yoga: 100-140BPM

CrossFit, indoor cycling or other forms of HIIT: 140-180BPM

Zumba and dance: 130-170BPM

Jogging: 120-140BPM

Weightlifting and strength lifting: 130-150BPM

Warm-up before exercise: 100-140BPM

Relaxation after exercise: 60-90BPM

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On mainstream music platforms, such as Apple Music and Spotify, there are pre-made training playlists available. Trainers can find corresponding playlists according to the type of exercise. Among them, Spotify’s “Groove in the Heart” program integrates the top 10,000 popular songs on the platform. Users can filter out the most popular song list in the required BPM by setting the maximum heart rate or clicking on different BPMs.

Bluetooth headphones are following the trend of sporty. According to IDC analysis, in the Bluetooth headset market in 2022, bone conduction products continue to grow, and segmented scenarios such as sports catalyze more attention to this market.

As bone conduction products grow, our understanding of the concept of bone conduction gradually becomes clearer. Here we introduce several very good bone-conduction headphones that are suitable for working out use.

1. Wissonly Hi Runner Bone Conduction Headphones

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 This headset is priced at $99.9, which is quite affordable for bone-conduction headphones. People may now generally believe that price and quality are often directly proportional, which is undeniable. But this headset is worth more than its price.

Choosing a sports headset, the most important thing is comfort. Wissonly Hi Runner provides a good sense of comfort. The first thing to mention is its ultra-lightweight of 27g and the use of skin-friendly materials, so there is no pressure to wear it for a long time. Secondly, this headset adopts an “ergonomic three-point support structure”, with the three points being the temples, auricles, and back of the head, which is stable to wear and not afraid of falling off during working out.

The multi-mode use and long battery life of this headset are also commendable. The positioning of this headset at the time of release was a swimming headset, so the headset passed the IPX8 waterproof certification and can be used not only for swimming but even at a depth of 20 meters underwater. Even underwater, the effective connection distance of the Bluetooth of this headset is still up to 15 meters.

Another mode is quite friendly to users who wear headphones to swim. The stability of Bluetooth connection underwater cannot be guaranteed, so the built-in 32g large memory has a great advantage. The 32g memory can hold more than 5,000 songs, enough to soak in the pool for a whole week without updating the music library! Charging uses magnetic suction charging, which is convenient, hygienic and safe. The battery capacity is 230mAh and supports 10 hours of ultra-long playback time!

The Hi Runner model has the best listening experience with clear sound and strong volume. Built-in reverse sound wave system, fully enclosed body design, reducing 90% of sound leakage.

2. IKXO Bone Conduction Headphones

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IKXO bone conduction headphones are an audio device with advanced technology and features. The price is much higher than that of Wissonly Hi Runner, and the biggest advantage of IKXO is that the built-in CVC 8.0 noise reduction technology makes the call clear and stable.

IKXO Bone Conduction Headphones are also IPX8 waterproof. This open wireless headset is ultra-light, weighing only 18 grams/0.63 ounces. Open headphones allow you to enjoy music while being aware of your surroundings.

IKXO bone conduction headphones have multiple playback modes. It is equipped with a built-in 16GB memory MP3 player and Bluetooth function, allowing you to enjoy music underwater. The Bluetooth of this model cannot be used underwater, so you need to download music in advance before going swimming.

The body adopts an upgraded titanium alloy with an adjustable silicone strap. The high-strength memory titanium alloy frame can be bent and stretched arbitrarily without deformation. Even if the body is folded hundreds of times, it will not be damaged and will return to its original state. It has a very good texture. The adjustable silicone strap can be used by both adults and children after adjustment.

It uses USB charging, and the battery capacity of 350mA can be used for 8-12 hours.

Overall, IKXO bone conduction headphones incorporate artistic design into digital devices, presenting a simple and stylish appearance. It is suitable for various scenarios such as cycling, running, working, etc., allowing you to enjoy intelligence and convenience in an elegant and luxurious life.

4. SHOKZ OpenRun Bone Conduction Headphones

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 The innovative design of SHOKZ OpenRun uses a lightweight wraparound frame and wireless, open-ear fit for a comfortable, earplug-free listening experience. There are 2 sizes to choose from in the flagship store to maximize comfort and ensure a secure fit.

This model uses SHOKZ’s eighth-generation bone conduction technology to maintain awareness and positivity during any workout. Bluetooth 5.1 and PremiumPitch 2.0+ provide support for clear sound, powerful volume, and rich bass. OpenRun delivers high-quality audio while keeping your eardrums open to the surrounding environment for ultimate safety.

The waterproof rating is IPX7, completely sweat-proof and waterproof, suitable for exercise, working out, and running. Includes humidity detection alarm to ensure safe charging. However, this model is not suitable for swimming.

SHOKZ OpenRun is a fast-charging magnetic induction charger with a battery life of up to eight hours when fully charged. OpenRun also has a 10-minute quick charge function with a battery life of up to 1.5 hours.

If most of the left-right integrated headphones on the market do not fit your skull well, you might as well try this one. There are two sizes to choose from. If one is not suitable, I believe the other size will fit your skull well.

We can see that the demand for sports Bluetooth headsets is increasing among the general public, and correspondingly, headsets will be implanted with more sensors and more mature artificial intelligence algorithms to enhance the richness of application scenarios and functions, such as supporting health monitoring in sports scenarios, accurate translation, content search, sports path recording, voiceprint recognition to confirm identity, voiceprint payment, etc.

We can also see more expansion and application in scenarios such as working out, and Internet technology giants such as Google and Amazon are also competing in the field of related smart wearable devices with their advantages in artificial intelligence technology.

With the further growth of the working out penetration rate and the joining of excellent working out headset brands (such as Wissonly, Shokz, etc.), this market will run a more mature track.