inspired by the London Olympics? Then selecting the right music to
exercise could hold the key to running efficiently and for longer,
according to a leading sports psychologist.
Professor Andy Lane, from the University of Wolverhampton,
explains that music can trick the mind into feeling less tired
during a workout, especially repetitive movement exercises such as
Professor Lane has carried out research into the effects of
music and his advice appears on the Livewell section of the NHS
website, which features tips on healthy living.
He says: “One of the key objectives in terms of creating a
legacy following the Olympics was to get the nation active, but
getting started and staying motivated can be a challenge.
“Research suggests that listening to music while exercising can
reduce perceptions of effort and fatigue by up to 12%. If you’re
listening to music while running, it can distract you from the
actual effort of running – you are listening to the beat of a song
rather than thump coming from your heartbeat.
“What’s more, research suggests that if you keep in step with
the music, your stride will be more rhythmical and therefore more
efficient. Tests on walkers found that walking in time to a musical
beat improved endurance by 15%.”
He explains that all music has a beats per minute (bpm) – for
example Rihanna’s Don’t Stop the Music has 123bpm. Most people find
150bpm a gentle pace and by 190bpm they are running as hard as they
Professor Lane, from the University’s School of Sport Performing
Arts and Leisure, advises that people should choose music that is
appropriate to the task when they are creating a playlist.
“If you want to go for an easy run, select music with a lower
bpm such as Search for the Hero by M People (100bpm). If you’re
feeling more energetic, choose songs with a higher bpm, such as I
See You Baby by Groove Armada (128bpm). Whatever you choose, make
sure it’s music you enjoy listening to,” he adds.
“Music can help you get into exercise mode. Have a few
motivational songs at the start of your playlist that you can play
as you're getting ready. The simple act of pressing ‘play’ flicks a
switch in your mind to signal that your session has begun and in a
short time you will be out of the door.”
Professor Lane’s tips appear on the NHS website: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/running-music.aspx
Professor Andy Lane’s research into music and exercise appears
in the journals referred to below – links are included.
Andy Lane is a Professor of Sport Psychology at the University
of Wolverhampton. He is accredited from the British Association of
Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) for scientific support and
research and Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological
Society. He has authored more than 100 peer refereed journal
articles and edited two books.
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Date Issued: Tuesday, 21 August 2012
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