Medical Mysteries of Music

Do you listen to music while you work out? Then read this.

If you exercise, you know the benefits of listening to music. It can pump you up, motivate to keep going when you’re run out of gas, distracts you from the pain, and keep your entire workout on track.

Sure, the type of music you listen to is important, but perhaps even more important is the tempo.

Research reported by New Atlas focused on the best tempos for various types of exercise.

Nineteen female volunteers were subjected to two exercise sessions: endurance (a ten-minute treadmill walk) and a high-intensity move (leg presses). Four different types of music were tested for each: no music, tunes with BPMs of 90 to 110, then 130 to 150, and finally 170 to 190.

Here’s a shock: The high-tempo music resulted in the highest heart rate. Quelle suprise. However, it also resulted in the lowest perceived exertion compared to the same routine performed without music.

Researchers found that high-tempo music (170+ BPMs) was best for endurance exercises and didn’t really help much for short, explosive sorts of moves.

Why? Because when you’re doing a short, high-intensity exercises, you think less and make fewer decisions. You’re all about the movement and the effort, which means your brain doesn’t have time to process the music or reap any of its benefits.

Something to consider the next time you hit the gym or go for a job.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38150 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Do you listen to music while you work out? Then read this.

  • Thanks for the informative and helpful post, obviously in your blog everything is good


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