Music and exercise have long been associated with one another, but can fast tempos and pleasant melodies truly influence the quality a workout?
Yes, they can, according to a new study published in the Frontiers in Psychology journal.
Researchers from multiple universities in Italy and Croatia assessed 19 active women in their mid-20s. The women performed treadmill workouts while listening to no music, low-tempo music (approximately 100 beats per minute), mid-tempo music (140 beats per minute) and high-tempo music (180 beats per minute). Meanwhile, the researchers analyzed the women's rating of perceived exertion (RPE).
The researchers found that RPE generally decreased as tempo increased, particularly between 170 and 190 beats per minute. The positive effects (an 11 percent shift in RPE) were more prevalent during endurance activities such as brisk walking, jogging, biking and swimming and less prevalent during high-intensity activities (only a 6.5 percent shift).
“We found that listening to high-tempo music while exercising resulted in the highest heart rate and lowest perceived exertion compared with not listening to music,” study author Luca Ardigo, a professor at the University of Verona, said in a media release. “This means that the exercise seemed like less effort, but it was more beneficial in terms of enhancing physical fitness.”
This free website categorizes popular music by beats per minute and can be used as a reference when selecting music for your health club.
Click here for more coverage of recent fitness studies.