Effect Of Asynchronous Music On Physiological Responses And Work Intensity During Treadmill Running

Por: Bethany Damms, Catherine Bacon e Costas Karageorghis.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Introduction
Research suggests that music can have a beneficial effect on exercise performance [1]. Reduced ratings of perceived
exertion (RPE) during exercise in response to music have been observed, from which we can infer a distraction effect
from somatic symptoms [2]. Although improved efficiency has been proposed as another reason for enhanced
performance with asynchronous (background) music [3], no previous work has reported an effect on economy, as
indicated by the oxygen cost of exercise. We hypothesise that improvement in economy might be greater when the
absolute intensity of exercise is controlled by the performer. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of music
on economy and RPE during submaximal exercise at fixed and self-paced intensities.

Methods
Nine untrained participants (20.6±0.7 yrs) were asked to rate 15 popular music tracks for their motivational qualities
using the Brunel Music Rating Inventory [4]. Participants exercised under two randomised conditions, one week apart
and at approximately the same time of day. In an experimental condition, they listened to their six most highly rated
tracks through headphones, while in a control condition no music was played. The exercise protocol consisted of a 7
min fixed-intensity bout performed at a speed corresponding to 60% heart rate (HR) maximum. Participants then
adjusted an obscured speed gauge to a pace they felt they could comfortably maintain for the next 7 minutes, and then
ran at this self-paced intensity. Differences between conditions in mean oxygen uptake (V O2) or the oxygen cost of
self-paced exercise (mean V O2/distance covered), and Borg’s 15-point RPE scale were analysed using paired samples
t tests.

Results
During the fixed-intensity bout, significant differences between the music and control trial were found for RPE (Table
1). Differences between the two conditions during the self-paced trial were also noted for total distance (1.04±0.2 km:
music trial, and 0.94±0.1 km: control, p<0.05), for oxygen cost (V O2/treadmill distance) and RPE (Table 1).

Discussion / Conclusions
This study demonstrated that carefully selected music improves the oxygen cost of high intensity treadmill running
when exercise intensity is self-selected. Unconscious synchronising between music tempo and movement may explain
this outcome in self-paced exercise. The attenuating effect of music on RPE observed during both types of exercise is
in accordance with the findings of past studies [2]. Hence, music with strong motivational qualities may be a salient
stimulus for untrained individuals, the implication being that exercise professionals can prescribe motivational music to
temper negative bodily sensations and promote exercise at an intensity that will confer significant health benefits.

References
[1.] Lucaccini, L.F., & Kreit, L.H. (1972). In W. P. Morgan (Ed.), Ergogenic aids and muscular performance (pp. 240-245). New
York: Academic Press.
[2]. Karageorghis C.I. & Terry P.C. (1997). J Sport Behav, 20, 713-24.
[3]. Szabo A. Small A. & Leigh M. (1999). J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 39, 220-25.
[4]. Karageorghis C.I. Terry P.C. & Lane A. (1999). J Sports Sci, 17, 713-24.

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