Does Music Make You Exercise Harder?

In a recent study, researchers asked 12 college students to ride stationary bicycles while listening to music. They were given a selection of six songs with a range of tempos.

During one session, the six songs ran at their normal tempos. In other sessions, the tempo was slowed by 10 percent or increased by 10 percent. Their activity changed significantly in response.

When the tempo was slowed, their pedaling diminished in rate, their heart rates fell, and their mileage dropped. When the tempo was increased, they produced more power with each pedal stroke and increased their pedaling rate, and their heart rates rose.

The New York Times reports:

“The interplay of exercise and music is fascinating and not fully understood, perhaps in part because, as a science, it edges into multiple disciplines, from physiology to biomechanics to neurology. No one doubts that people respond to music during exercise ... Just how music impacts the body during exercise, however, is only slowly being teased out by scientists.”

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