Whether you’re tearing up the pavement or feeling the burn at the gym, there’s nothing like having a good soundtrack to keep you going. Find something with a steady rhythm and you can fall in sync, drifting off into your own little "Eye of the Tiger" Rocky training montage. Time it just right and you can get on the stair machine just as "Gonna Fly Now" comes on!

The problem is finding the right set of headphones. Some just don’t stand up to vigorous exercise, and having your headphones fly off and try to trip you up with the dangling cable can really put you off your stride. There are a number of different types of headphone that are perfect whether you’re running up that hill or working out at the YMCA. Here’s a guide to keep you pounding the beat.

The Knowhow

For sports use, you need headphones that will stay in place no matter how active you get. Traditional "headband" style headphones can have a tendency to gradually slip off as you move. The ideal style will fit snugly in or over the ear and have some way of keeping themselves attached to your head. The build of your earphones needs to be sturdy enough to take the additional levels of physical movement you’ll be doing.

Consider the following points when choosing headphones for sport:

  • Is the cabling strong enough to withstand a few jerks if you accidentally catch it?
  • Are the earpieces robust enough to withstand moisture when you work up a sweat?
  • Do the headphones have built-in controls that allow you to skip tracks and change volume on the go?
  • Is the cable long enough to allow you to put your MP3 player somewhere secure and still give you freedom of movement?

Many styles of headphone are ideal for active use, including the following types:

  • Over-ear earphones "clip" over the ear which keeps them in place. They can be based on in-ear "canalphones", described below, or standard over ear headphones.
  • In-ear canalphones often have snugly fitting earpieces designed to block out external sound and keep the ’phones in your ears. For sports use, they will often run the cable over the top of the ear or around the back of the neck for additional security.
  • Neckband ’phones are often similar to the over-ear style with an additional band around the back of the neck to help keep the headphones in place.
  • Some Headband style headphones are designed to be snug fitting enough for sports use, but often for more low-impact activities.
  • Waterproof headphones come in a variety of styles and are designed for sports users in and out of the pool. These are also perfect for stopping perspiration getting into the ear canal.

With anything that affects your senses, we advise you to take extra care to be fully aware of your surroundings when wearing headphones.

Many manufacturers have a range of headphones specifically designed for sports use. These are often constructed of more robust materials designed to withstand any perishing effects sweat may have on earpieces and should stay attached to the head no matter how many backflips you do. From aerobics to Zumba, there’s a set of headphones perfect for you. Put the music on and you’ll soon be able to compete with the stars of track and field in the race.

Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specific details.


Updated On:

Nov 21, 2011

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