Music’s Subconscious Influence

Music’s Subconscious Influence

Thu Jan 19, 2017

Anyone who has been to a class at Mile High can attest to the fun playlists that the coaches set up. Music is an enjoyable part of our workouts and can be motivating when we start to fatigue. In fact, I have met runners who will actually alter their training plans if they forgot their headphones!

A study examined the effects of fast tempo music on heart rate, running speed, and perceived exertion. It also looked at the effects of slow tempo music on post-exercise heart rate and lactate recovery rates.

Twelve people completed a self-paced 20 minute treadmill run and 20 minutes of recovery laying down in three different conditions: static noise, fast tempo music, and slow tempo music. Results showed that the fast tempo music condition had increased self-selected speed and a higher heart rate—without an increase in perceived exertion. Faster heart rate recovery was observed in the slow tempo music condition.

By listening to fast tempo music, the natural inclination is to run faster, and it doesn’t feel like extra effort. So take advantage of the class environment and maybe try bumping up the pace a bit—it might be easier than you think! 

Cathlin Fitzgerald, PT, DPT, CSCS, CAFS 
NY Custom PT & Performance 
295 Madison Avenue #1026
New York, NY 10017 
212-682-786

Lee S Kimmerly DS. “Influence of music on maximal self-paced running performance and passive post-exercise recovery rate”. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2016; 56(1-2): 39-48.

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