Jogging, lifting, intervals, cycling, pilates - the list is endless. You could work out in any of a million ways, between outdoor activities and gym-based classes and equipment. If you're anything like us, too, you'll be wanting to avoid doing so in silence, or, maybe worse, to whatever abrasive playlist the gym has got booming out on loudspeakers.
Getting music right can be the key to a motivated workout. It can be the difference between a personal best and a disappointment. We've been using the Libratone TRACK Air+ for a few weeks now as our exercise headphones of choice, and wanted to take a look at some ways that you can maximise the musical potential of your workouts, using the TRACK Air+ as a handy guide.
1. Can you live with wires?
When it comes to headphones for working out, one of the first choices you'll face, well before you get to sound and price, is whether you want truly wireless sound or not. There are plenty of great options out there, if you're happy to have earbuds with a wire between them (like Libratone's own TRACK+ headphones), and if you don't mind the bulk you could also opt for over-ear headphones.
For us, though, nothing beats the freedom of completely wireless earbuds. With the TRACK Air+ in your ears, you've got full head movement, nothing bouncing around your neck, and the license to exercise without worrying about getting tangled, or your headphones falling off your head. There's nothing quite like it.
2. Make sure your equipment is up to the job
You wouldn't necessarily it know it to look at them, but plenty of wireless earbuds actually aren't at all designed with exercise in mind. That's an afterthought that they can just about muddle through. One of the key areas where this can spring nasty surprises is in waterproofing and sweat-proofing. If your earbuds aren't up to it, you could find they simply stop working abruptly.
The TRACK Air+ is as athletically-inspired as the "track" in its name suggests. The earbuds are rated with IPX4 waterproofing, meaning that they'll happily work in any weather, and your sweat won't be an issue for them at all. That's the sort of peace of mind that's worth its weight in gold.
3. Noise-cancelling, distraction cancelling
Once you go wireless, though, there's another factor that divides up the market pretty significantly - noise cancelling. For those who've never used it, noise-cancelling effectively uses canny software to subtly filter out background noises, so that your music is the clearest it can be. For now, the feature is largely limited to very expensive models.
Needless to say, though, the Libratone TRACK Air+ has it on-board, despite its entirely reasonable price, and we're huge fans of how subtle but effective it is. Again, once you've used it on an outdoors run and drowned out the buses and planes overhead you'll be won over.
Of course, you might not want to totally ignore the wider world, for safety reasons, but don't fear - the earphones can enhance ambient sound so you can stay aware.
You can also fully control the extent of noise cancellation in Libratone's app - or turn it off entirely - to make sure that you don't miss any important noise cues or warnings.
4. Can your battery keep up?
Are you an endurance runner? Could marathons be your cup of tea? Or, are you just hoping that you won't have to charge your headphones case every night to rely on using it? With the advent of wireless headphones has come a wave of underpowered options that don't do enough to ensure that your music won't cut out partway through a workout.
The Libratone TRACK Air+ is a class-leader in this respect - it'll last 6 hours on a single charge, which is already great performance, but also carries enough power in its battery case to get you to 24 hours of listening time without needing to be plugged in. Plus, plugs themselves are optional - the case has wireless charging to let you quickly deposit it on a charging pad to get it going.
5. Don't let anything weigh you down, or break
If you're looking for headphones or earbuds to see you through a hard workout, is whether you want those buds to make that workout incrementally harder.
Across all walks of sport and many forms of exercise, weight matters - if you're weight down by some bulky over-ear headphones, you're not helping yourself reach peak performance. The TRACK Air+ weighs just 5.6g per earbud. Pop them in and you'll soon forget they're there, other than the superb, crisp sound you'll be enjoying.
There are also different eartip sizes included, too, so you'll always have a comfortable fit.
6. It's all about tempo
The TRACK Air+ has intuitive, simple tap controls and dual microphones for calls, meaning there's limited need for your phone once you're up and running.
And stepping away from the tech for a second, though, what about the music itself? Everyone's different, but it's commonly accepted that high-tempo music can help you focus on pushing yourself to perform, especially if it lines up with your pace in terms of beats per minute.
Take running - if you listen to songs where the beat lines up with your steps when you're going at your target speed, that's a useful tool to help you stay at that pace for longer.
Now, that might not always be the case. If you're in a more relaxed mood, you might opt for your favourite podcast, or you could find that your workouts are the best time for you to sample new albums and artists.
If you're pushing for a personal best, though, we'd recommend taking the time to line up your playlist with your pace. You won't regret it.