15 Jul Music Makes High Intensity Exercise More Enjoyable
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Matthew J. Stork, PhD
Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Postdoctoral Fellow
The University of British Columbia
School of Health & Exercise Sciences
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves multiple brief, high-intensity efforts, separated by periods of recovery. Research shows that several weeks of HIIT can elicit meaningful physical health benefits that are similar to those of traditional, long-duration aerobic exercise. While HIIT is time-efficient and can induce important health benefits, one major drawback is that people may find it to be unpleasant – especially those who are insufficiently active and not meeting recommended physical activity guidelines. The potentially unpleasant nature of HIIT may deter people from beginning or adhering to a HIIT program.
Consequently, researchers have begun to investigate the use of music as a potential strategy to enhance people’s pleasure during HIIT. However, the current research evidence is quite limited and, in particular, insufficiently active individuals have been understudied.
MedicalResearch.com: What did you do?
Response: We gathered a panel of adults to listen to and rate the motivational qualities of 16 fast-tempo (~132-142 bpm) songs. The three songs with the highest motivational ratings according to three different genres were used for the study:
1) Let’s Go by Calvin Harris ft. Ne-Yo, 2012 (pop)
2) Bleed It Out by Linkin Park, 2007 (rock)
3) Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton, 2011 (hip-hop)
We then recruited a separate group of 24 insufficiently active adults (12 women, 12 men) and asked them to complete sessions of HIIT under three different conditions: motivational music, podcast control, no-audio control. The ‘one-minute’ HIIT training workouts consisted of three, 20-second ‘all-out’ sprints on a stationary bike, separated by two minutes of rest. Each workout lasted only 10 minutes including a short warm-up and cool-down.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Participants experienced elevated heart rate responses and enhanced peak power output in the session with music compared to the podcast and no-audio control sessions. Additionally, participants tended to report greater pleasure over the course of the HIIT trial and had significantly higher post-exercise enjoyment scores in the music condition compared to the control conditions. Together, these findings highlight the powerful impact music can have during exercise – both physically and psychologically.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Based on these findings, the application of motivational music during HIIT may be recommended to help individuals who are insufficiently active get more out of their workout physically – and enjoy it more. Therefore, music may be a practical strategy to encourage continued participation in HIIT-type exercise.
Matthew J.StorkaCostas I.KarageorghisbKathleen A.Martin Ginisac
Psychology of Sport and Exercise
Volume 45, November 2019, 101547
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