Music boosts physical endurance6th October 2008
Listening to upbeat music while exercising in time to it can boost motivation and endurance, a new study in the United States has found.
Certain kinds of music are needed to produce the effect, according to a team of researchers led by Costas Karageorghis, sports psychologist at Brunel University.
Use of music can significantly increase a person's physical endurance and make the experience of cardiovascular exercise far more positive, he writes in the US Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology.
The findings are the latest to be published out of a 20-year programme of work into the motivational qualities of music in sport and exercise.
Elite athletes, including marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie, have been exercising in time to music for years.
In the study, 30 participants exercised on a treadmill to motivational rock or pop music, including tracks by Queen, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Madonna, strictly matching their pace to the beat of the music.
The research showed that the use of music in this way enhanced endurance by 15%, and improved how the exercisers felt about exercising, giving them greater pleasure and enhancing motivation.
Music was shown to help exercisers to feel more positive even when working out at a very high intensity â€“ close to physical exhaustion.
Karageorghis says that 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.
The research was further tested at the weekend by a half-marathon in Greenwich, London, where specially selected music was provided to runners along the length of the course.
Selected by Karageorghis, the music was played at 17 live music stations to accompany 12,500 runners.
The findings may be of interest to public health practitioners involved it providing rehabilitation programmes in primary care settings to cardiac patients and people fighting obesity, Brunel University said in a statement.
They showed that music has the power to make a considerable impact in the fight against public inactivity.
The effects of music on mood and emotions may mean it can be used to improve compliance to exercise and therefore help people achieve their long-term health and fitness goals.
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