How music changes the way you exercise
A new study has shown that listening to upbeat music can make an intense workout physically and mentally easier. This is the case even for people who are unfit.
Matthew Stork, who is a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus published a study examining how the right music can help less-active people get more out of their workouts as well as enjoy it a bit more.
“While HIIT is time-efficient and can elicit meaningful health benefits among adults who are insufficiently active, one major drawback is that people may find it to be unpleasant. As a result, this has the potential to discourage continued participation,” he said to Good News Network.
Stork looked to fix this and gathered a panel of British adults to rate the motivational qualities of 16 fast-tempo songs. The songs that were ranked the highest were used for the study.
Next, a group of 24 participants completed an intense “one minute workout”, which consisted of three 20-second all out sprints. The workouts were done under three different conditions, which were one with the motivational music, no audio or a podcast that was devoid of music.
“Music is typically used as a dissociative strategy. This means that it can draw your attention away from the body’s physiological responses to exercise such as increased heart rate or sore muscles,” says Stork. “But with high-intensity exercise, it seems that music is most effective when it has a fast tempo and is highly motivational.”
“Humans have an innate tendency to alter the frequency of their biological rhythms toward that of musical rhythms,” he explained. “In this case, the fast-tempo music may have increased people’s heart rate during the exercise. It’s incredible how powerful music can be.”