Tunes to make your workout a winner

By Nick McDermott

Working out to the right tunes can make all the difference. Photo / Thinkstock
Working out to the right tunes can make all the difference. Photo / Thinkstock

Most gym-goers enjoy listening to a few tunes to help inspire a workout.

But if you really want to shift those unwanted pounds on the treadmill, then select the playlist with care.

It's not just the tempo of a song that affects the intensity of a workout, the style of the song has an influence too, researchers say.

Repetitive dance music can make us train better than more 'relaxing' songs - even at the same tempo, they claim.

Scientists suggest there may be something inherent in the style of music that influences us.

A study into the effect of different music types on exercise found some types caused participants to take substantially longer strides, even when the number of beats per minute remained the same.

They suggest that a more 'activating' style of song, such as techno and pop, can increase our levels of effort by up to 10 per cent. In contrast, such as reggae and jazz, resulted in participants taking the same number of steps but taking smaller strides and travelling a shorter distance.

Lead researcher Dr Marc Leman from Ghent University in Belgium said: "The speed of walking depends on two factors - timing and vigour.

"The tempo of a song dictates how often we take a step. But there are other factors, such as the style of music, which contribute to the length of our stride." In the research, published in the journal Public Library of Science ONE, 18 adults aged between 22 and 51 heard samples of 52 different types of music while walking.

All the samples had the same tempo and a 4-beat meter, but the team observed differences in the stride length in response to some of the songs. These differences in stride caused an overall difference in the speed of the participants' walk.

Dr Leman said more aggressive and repetitive sounding music like techno gave stronger, more energetic strides while more laid back and relaxing sounds such as reggae, resulted in shorter strides.

He said: "Music somehow captures what we do and it enhances our activity. The research suggests that the right kind of music will help you exercise more effectively."

Neuroscientist Jack Lewis said that while music has been shown to allow people to exercise slightly harder and slightly longer - classical music has added benefits because it helps relax the body.

- Daily Mail

- Daily Mail

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