The Secret Relationship between Music and Exercise


When it comes to running, for many people, it’s not just about having the right running shoes and heart rate monitors; their source of distraction, inspiration and motivation for exercise is just as important   and for almost everyone, this comes from their music.

The four factors connecting music and exercise:

For just over two decades, sports psychologists have been researching why music and exercise have become so intertwined for people; it’s rare nowadays to see someone jogging down the road without their headphones in and their mp3 players attached. According to one scientist by the name of Kargeorghis, there are four different characteristics that determine how motivating a song will be; these include its association, its cultural impact, its musicality and its rhythm.

Musicality and rhythm are considered to be internal factors in that they relate to the structure of the music itself, whilst association and cultural impact are known as external factors, as they are a reflection of how an individual interprets a particular song. Rhythm response relates to the BPM, or beats per minute and how well this matches up with either the runner’s own heartbeat, or the cadence. The structure of a song, such as its harmony and melody, determine its musicality. The external factors take into account the musical preferences which a person might have for specific genres, as well as what things they have learned to associate with different types of artists and songs.

How music can boost your ability to exercise for longer:

It has been found that choosing the right music for your exercise regime has a number of very clear benefits. Firstly, synchronising your exercise pace with your chosen song’s beats per minute will increase your efficiency. Additionally, it was discovered that listening to a song that you enjoy can help you to ignore that voice in your mind trying to convince you to give up; the disassociation and distraction provided by music resulted in a reduction of ten percent in the perceived effort of running on a treadmill at a moderately intense pace. Yet another study confirmed the idea that must can boost endurance levels   when compared to a control version with test subjects using <b>exercise equipment</b> without music, it was found that those listening to motivational music that was synchronised to their movements boosted endurance abilities by fifteen percent.

Other research has looked into the effect of tempo angle   rather than combining a combination of different songs that had different tempos, one study decided to ask a group of people to cycle to the same song on three separate occasions. What the researchers did not reveal however, was that at each cycling session, they played the song at a slightly different tempo   first at normal speed, then faster by ten percent and so on. The study showed that speeding up the music program improved the distance and pedal cadence achieved by just over two percent. Slowing the tempo down resulted in a noticeable drop of nearly four percent in overall performance. It was therefore concluded that listening to fast tempo songs is an effective method of boosting endurance and overall ability.

This article was contributed by John, a freelance blogger, who is writing on behalf of Reebok Fitness.

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