Active Gear Scout: Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Athletes

Music fuels workouts. It pumps you up and gets you in the "zone" so you can keep the rhythm, stay energized, and boost your performance.

"Music is like a legal drug for athletes," says Dr. Costas Karageorghis, author of Inside Sport Psychology.

Karageorphis did an in-depth look at how music impacts athletes and found that music distracts, creates emotion, causes arousal, and gets people to move to tempo. Here's a breakdown:

Distract: Music helps take the mind off of the physical activity. • Creates Emotion: A song from your childhood may boost energy because it was something you always listened to while playing in the backyard. Or, a song that played from your first rock concert may boost your spirits. There's a human connection to music that causes an emotional touch. • Causes Arousal: The tendency to move instead of sit. If you hear a song in the background, you might notice your knee bouncing to the rhythm. That's your body wanting to move to the beat. • People Move to Tempo: Take cyclists as an example. To pick up the pedal speed they listen to a fast-paced tempo to help them lift their pedals quickly and in a steady rhythm.

To perform your best while listening to music, a good set of earbuds is a must. Headphones come in so many shapes, sizes, wires, no wires, etc. And prices can range from $15 to $300 or more. It can be a big task to find the right pair for you.

To narrow your search, the Active Gear Scout tested all sorts of noise-canceling headphones. These pieces were put through: marathons, swim sessions, interval strength-trainings, 25-mile bike rides and rigorous stair climbs. Some performed better than others, but overall offer great sound and no-fuss earbuds. Find one that's right for you to help you get in the zone and perform your best.

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