By Gabe Sanders Ph.D., NSCA-CSCS
Do you listen to music when you exercise? If so, do you have a favorite song or a favorite genre that motivates you? Listening to music can certainly improve how much you enjoy exercise because it helps you take your mind off the “routineness” of exercise.
During exercise, music (good music, ha-ha) can motivate you. It could be that certain types of music strike a “motivation chord” in your body and helps you work harder!
While most of us like to listen to music when we exercise, we all might not be listening to “fast” music, but fast music can help improve your exercise intensity.
Fast music increases heart rate
Research has shown that slow music or music with a slow tempo can reduce your heart rate and may even reduce your systolic blood pressure. Therefore, slow music may be great for relaxation and stress relief. However, this may not be most ideal for exercise.
Different research has found that songs with faster tempos can improve a person’s attitude and increase their physiological measurements such as heart rate. More intensity combined with a better attitude sounds like a recipe for success!
Pick upbeat-tempo and boost
Translating this research to your daily exercise, first pick songs, or a genre of music that you enjoy or find motivating. Every person has a different taste in music, so pick a beat that is best for you!
Second, do your best to ensure the music you pick, regardless of genre, is more up-tempo and has a faster beat. The faster beat can help you work a little harder and boost your heart rate during exercise
Make a playlist
Lastly, take the time to make a playlist. You can strategically play songs that flow with your workout (similar to a spinning class). For example, early in your playlist, select music that is slow to mimic your warm-up. Then once you are in the middle of your workout, your music should be jamming followed by one really good up-beat song at the end so that you can finish your workout strong!
Making a playlist with good, upbeat music might be a key strategy for maximizing your calorie burn!
Vijayaraman, Manibalan, and R. Mukilan Ramadoss. “A study on the effect of repeated favorite slow tempo songs on heart rate and systolic BP of young adults.” Int J Phy Nutri and Physical Edu4 (2019): 1.
Kim, Jongwan, Carly A. Strohbach, and Douglas H. Wedell. “Effects of manipulating the tempo of popular songs on behavioral and physiological responses.” Psychology of Music3 (2019): 392-406.
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