I read recently it’s not only what celebrities do to stay fit but it’s the music they listen to that can make a big difference. Is the reason I can’t shed my recent weight gain down to the fact I have terrible playlists on my iPod?
Well, you probably already know that I can’t say it’s just the music that is the problem!
However, you bring up a good point. There has been a lot of research done at The School of Sport and Education at Brunel University in London into the links between exercise, heart rates and music tempo.
The research shows that the right music can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent.
This is because music influences exercise in three ways:
• We have a natural tendency to move in time with synchronous sounds, e.g. tapping of your toe in time with music
• Music increases our arousal to move instead of sit
• Music can distract the exerciser from discomfort he or she may be feeling during exercise
Therefore, researchers have spent time looking at how certain songs can be more effective for certain types of exercise than others. Ideally, they say, the tempo of the music should mirror the desired heart rate at which the exerciser wishes to work. The faster the beat, the higher the arousal (desire to move), so the higher the intensity you’ll work at and the less stressful it will seem.
They say this idea goes back to the Roman galleys when the slaves had to row to the beat of a drum. Not just for synchronization, but also to increase effort, because we have a natural tendency to say in tune with the dominant beat of music.
As for the best music to work out to today, there are many ready-made playlists available to download.
The music that seems to work best for my clients is the kind they personally like the most. They often plug their own iPods in when they come to the gym, so if you pop in for a visit and there’s some really bad music playing, don’t blame us!