Medical Mysteries of Music

Music Makes High-Intensity Interval Workouts More Enjoyable

If you think that listening to music makes exercise more enjoyable, your hypothesis is backed up by science. This includes high-intensity interval training.

Previous research focused mainly on moderate cycling and jogging. In a new study, according to the Globe and Mail: “researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton scouted for volunteers who would be willing to try a hard but very brief workout. They wound up with 20 young, healthy, physically active male and female volunteers, each new to high-intensity interval training, but curious about the workout”.

The volunteers answered several questionnaires about their feelings towards high-intensity exercise and what music they thought they might listen to during a workout. The researchers then put the volunteers through a particularly difficult form of high-intensity interval training, hoping to increase the volunteers’ physical and emotional responses. One occasion the volunteers had no music, on another they had their chosen playlist.

The Globe and Mail comments: “After each session, the riders rested for an hour and then repeated the questionnaires”.

While the attitudes were generally positive, the responses were even more favourable when volunteers listened to music. Listening to music also made it more likely that volunteers would say they planned to continue high-interval training in the future.

Although this study focused on young, healthy individuals, the Globe and Mail reports that this study’s leader “is currently working on a number of studies that involve different types of people and different types of interval programs, he says. Early results should be available soon”.

In other words, if you want to get into shape, or just improve your health, but are feeling a little ambivalent towards exercise, try putting on some tunes while you work out.

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