How Music Can Help Your Workout
Listening to music may make it easier for people to adopt short duration exercise regimens that could help them stay in shape, according to researchers at University of British Columbia Okanagan campus.
In the study published in the ‘Journal of Sport Sciences’, researchers Kathleen Martin Ginis and Matthew Stork studied the attitudes of moderate exercisers towards high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which they hadn’t been exposed to before. They found that the first-timers not only had positive attitudes toward HIIT, but that participants also reported feeling more positive about the exercise regimen if they listened to music while they exercised.
“Newer research has established that as little as 10 minutes of intense HIIT, three times per week can elicit meaningful heath benefits,” says Stork, a PhD candidate at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “For busy people who may be reluctant to try HIIT for the first time, this research tells us that they can actually enjoy it, and they may be more likely to participate in HIIT again if they try it with music.”
Another study, this time from the Brunel University’s School of Sport and Education, has revealed that carefully selected music can significantly increase a person’s physical endurance and make the experience of cardiovascular exercise far more positive.
The study, published in the U.S. periodical ‘Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology’, is the latest from a 20-year program of work into the motivational qualities of music in sport and exercise. The findings illustrate the considerable benefits associated with exercising in time to music: Something that some elite athletes, such as marathon world record-holder Haile Gebrselassie, have been doing for years.
Thirty participants exercised on a treadmill while listening to a selection of motivational rock or pop music. They were asked to keep in strict time with the beat. The findings show that when carefully selected according to scientific principles, music can enhance endurance by 15% and improve the ‘feeling states’ of exercisers, helping them to derive much greater pleasure from the task. One significant new finding is that music can help exercisers to feel more positive even when they are working out at a very high intensity – close to physical exhaustion.
The research findings are particularly noteworthy for public health practitioners, given that treadmill-based exercise such as walking and running is often incorporated into the rehabilitation programs of those in a primary care settings (e.g. cardiac patients and those suffering from obesity). Music has the power to make a considerable impact in the fight against public inactivity. Moreover, the effects of music on mood and emotions open up the possibility that it can be used to improve compliance to exercise and therefore help people achieve their long-term health and fitness goals.
Explains researcher Dr Costas Karageorghis of the Brunel University, “The synchronous application of music results in much higher endurance while the motivational qualities of the music impact significantly on the interpretation of fatigue symptoms right up to the point of voluntary exhaustion.”