Can the Backstreet Boys Really Make Me Run Faster?
You probably don't need an exercise scientist to tell you that music makes exercise more enjoyable, but what is its true effect on physical performance? Below is a brief bit of research on the benefits of pairing music with exercise and athletics. I've also added my personal favorite playlist as a place to start!
"Music is like is a legal drug for athletes," says Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., from London's Brunel University School of Sport and Education, one of the world's leading authorities on music and exercise. "It can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent."
Over the past 20 years of research, Karageorghis has identified three primary things about music that could possibly influence exercise performance: 1) the tendency to move in time with synchronous sounds (e.g., tapping your toe in time with music or the beat of a drum); 2) the tendency of music to increase arousal (e.g., the desire to move rather than to sit); and 3) the tendency for music to distract the exerciser from discomfort that might be related to exercise.
Buoyed by Karageorghis' landmark research, Foster and John Porcari, Ph.D., have supervised more than half a dozen research studies on the effect of music on exercise intensity. As a whole, that body of research further supports the notion that synchronous music tends to drive exercise intensity (i.e., the faster the beat, the higher the intensity). Researchers also clearly identified the effect of increased arousal related to the tempo of music, thereby making intense exercise seem less stressful.
Here are a few of my favorite tunes to workout to:
Circus - Britney Spears
Du Hast- Rammstein
Cotton Eye Joe - Rednex
Sexy and I Know It - LMFAO
Turbulence - Steve Aoki & Laidback Luke
Burn It to the Ground - Nickelback
Everybody (Backstreet's Back) - Backstreet Boys
Jam - Michael Jackson
Rock Star - N.E.R.D
Pure Energy - Information Society
Waka Waka - Shakira
What is on your playlist???