Workout music: give me the beat boys

Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:57pm EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Rock, hip hop or R&B, if it has a pounding tempo music can really rock your cardio workout.

Fitness experts say boosted by that backbeat you might not even notice that you're working harder.

"Higher tempo certainly seems to drive the intensity of exercise performance," said Dr. Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

"The faster the beat, the higher the intensity," he explained. "Listening to smooth jazz would not do it."

Bryant said preliminary results of an ACE-commissioned study on how music affects exercise performance suggest that under the influence of a strong beat, exercisers will actually work harder than they think they do.

"Individuals listened to different types of music, even comedy routines," he said of the study, conducted by the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. "They found that upbeat music listeners rated the intensity of their exercise lower than it actually was."

He added that recognizing the music seems to have the most impact, and if people select their own music they would exercise even harder.

The study, which is due to be published this fall, notes that the subjects, who were college students, thought exercising to music was less stressful.   Continued...