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Here are some practical consid-
erations when selecting music to
accompany your exercise program:
Task specificity: marry the
music to the activity you are
undertaking and the psycho-
logical effect you want to experi-
Consider the tempo: is the
speed of the music and its
rhythm ideal for the activity you
Lyrical affirmations: do the
lyrics contain positive affirma-
tions of exercise such as 'work
your body' or 'push it'?
Imagery: does the music cre-
ate imagery in your mind that is
Personal meaning: does the
music remind you of a passage
in your life that evokes positive
Cultural congruency: does the
music emanate from the genre
which you grew up with or which
you closely identify with?
Melody/harmony: does the
music possess a pleasing
melody and harmony, which
improves your mood?
Exposure/familiarity: are you
familiar with the music without
finding it tiresome owing to
SOURCE: Karageorghis & Priest, in Peak
Performance, issue 297, March 2011
The right beat
FOR gym junkie ABCIS Emma
Peters, plugging into an MP3
player is an absolute neces-
sity when it comes to tackling
The 21-year-old sailor, who works
out five times a week, said she listened
to music while training to maintain her
"I definitely think I train a lot
harder when I'm listening to music
because it helps put me in the mood to
exercise," ABCIS Peters said.
"The rhythm helps to set my pace
while running or doing cardio activi-
"During a cardio workout I gener-
ally listen to pop or dance music, but
when I do weights I listen to heavier
artists like Metallica or Pantera."
But why does music appear to
affect our physical performance? A
study into this very question has found
that listening to music distracts the
mind from fatigue and improves aero-
Researchers Costas Karageorghis
and David-Lee Priest from Brunel
University in West London have con-
ducted numerous studies over 20 years
into the impact of music on physical
Their studies reveal that it's primar-
ily through influencing your mental
Heavy metal for heavy lifting
Music is the best gym buddy you can have,
reports CPL Melanie Schinkel.
state that music enhances physical
performance. Here are some of the key
Dissociation: during low-to-
moderate intensity music can divert
your attention from the sensations
of effort and fatigue. This reduces
your perception of how hard you
are working through a process psy-
chologists refer to as dissociation.
The distraction provided by music
can also make you feel better.
Arousal: music can alter emotional
and physiological arousal much like
a stimulant or sedative. It is in this
capacity that we often see music
used in sport as part of a pre-task
routine, most often to 'psych-up' an
athlete. Music also has the capac-
ity to stimulate through its rhythm,
tempo and volume.
Rhythm response: synchronisation
of movement with music leads to
greater endurance and movement
efficiency. This applies especially
to repetitive activities such as row-
ing, cycling, cross-country skiing
and running. Synchronous music
improves aerobic endurance by up
to 15 per cent. Music in the tempo
range 125-140 beats per minute is
ideal for any exercise in which the
goal is to elevate the heart rate.
ROWING TO THE RYTHYM: Sychronisation of music with movement
Photo: LSIS Paul Berry
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