Can high-tempo music at the gym make exercise easier and more beneficial?
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Can high-tempo music at the gym make exercise easier and more beneficial?

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A study has suggested that listening to high-tempo music could increase the benefits of exercise – and reduce the perceived effort involved.

A report, published in Frontiers in Psychology, outlines the results of an investigation by a team of researchers into the effects of the tempo of a piece of music on female volunteers.

The team studied a group of volunteers who performed either regular endurance exercises (walking on a treadmill) or high-intensity exercises (using a leg press).

The volunteers completed exercise sessions in silence or while listening to pop music at different tempos.

The researchers recorded a variety of parameters, including the volunteers' opinions about the effort required to complete the exercises and their heart rate while exercising, as a higher heart rate would mean that the exercise was more beneficial for physical fitness.

"We found that listening to high-tempo music while exercising resulted in the highest heart rate and lowest perceived exertion compared with not listening to music," said Professor Luca P. Ardigò of the University of Verona in Italy.

"This means that the exercise seemed like less effort, but it was more beneficial in terms of enhancing physical fitness."

The effects were more noticeable in volunteers completing the endurance exercise sessions, compared with those performing high-intensity exercises, suggesting that people performing endurance activities such as walking or running may receive the greatest benefit from listening to high-tempo music.

"In the current study, we investigated the effect of music tempo in exercise, but in the future we would also like to study the effects of other music features such as genre, melody, or lyrics, on endurance and high-intensity exercise," Ardigò added.

Listening to music while exercising at the gym is popular and previous studies have documented some of the benefits.

Previous findings include that music can distract from fatigue and discomfort and increase participation in exercise.

However, "how" we experience music is highly subjective, with cultural factors and personal preferences influencing its effects on individuals. Music is multifaceted with various aspects such as rhythm, lyrics and melody contributing to the experience.

To read the full report – titled The Psychophysiological Effects of Different Tempo Music on Endurance Versus High-Intensity Performancesclick here for Frontiers in Psychology.

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A study has suggested that listening to high-tempo music could increase the benefits of exercise – and reduce the perceived effort involved.
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