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Musical motivation

Music can help people become distracted from things associated with exercise, such as pain and fatigue, while also increasing endurance, reducing perceived exertion rate, and elevating mood. Basically, people can run farther, swim longer, and train harder, all while listening to music – often without realizing it. 

Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in London is among the world’s leading experts on the psychology of exercise music, and he wrote that you could think of music as “a type of legal performance-enhancing drug.” In a 2012 study, Karageorghis and colleagues found that participants who cycled along with music used 7 per cent less oxygen than those who were not synchronized to a beat. 

The two most important qualities of workout music are tempo (or speed) and rhythm response, which essentially means how much the music makes you want to move. Most people instinctively synchronize their movements with music, whether it be through nodding your head, tapping your toes or some other form of movement. 

Some psychologists suggest that people prefer a rhythm of 120 beats per minute (bpm). Treadmill running, however, shows that people would favour around 160 bpm. In light of this, recent research shows that a ceiling effort occurs around 145 bpm, as anything higher does not contribute additional motivation. 

The evidence for training with music is clearly beneficial. If you are working out to silence you are most likely not working to your full potential. Plug in and enjoy your workout!

By: Brad Kinzett

Brad has been a Fitness & Sports Instructor in CFB Borden since January 2010. He graduated from Cambrian College with an advanced diploma in Fitness & Leisure Management. He enjoys competing in both hockey and soccer. 

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