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Music ups exercise endurance by 15%

27th August 2009

By Deborah Condon

Choosing the right music to listen to while exercising can increase physical endurance and make the overall experience more positive, new research indicates.

The findings are based on the latest results from a 20-year programme of work into the motivational qualities of music in sport and exercise. Thirty participants exercised on a treadmill while listening to a selection of motivational rock or pop music, including tracks by Madonna, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Queen.

All were asked to keep in strict time with the beat.

The study found that when carefully selected according to scientific principles, music can enhance physical endurance by 15% and help the exercisers to derive much more pleasure from the task.

One significant new finding is that music can help exercisers to feel more positive even when they are working out at a very high intensity and are close to physical exhaustion.

The researchers believe that the effects of music on mood opens up the possibility that it can be used to improve compliance with exercise programme, therefore helping people achieve their long-term health and fitness goals.

"The synchronous application of music resulted in much higher endurance while the motivational qualities of the music impacted significantly on the interpretation of fatigue symptoms right up to the point of voluntary exhaustion," explained Dr Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in west London.

Details of these findings are published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology.


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