Does music really help with training?

Does music have the same effect as permitted doping in sports? (Image: vgajic / iStock)

Headphones are part of training for many people, like sports shoes and a water bottle – with music it just works better, they are convinced. But to what extent can this effect be scientifically proven? Two recent publications now confirm the personal experiences of many sporty music fans.

Some studies have already dealt with the question of how music influences physical performance – however, some aspects were in the focus of the researchers. In order to get an overall picture, the scientists led by Peter Terry from the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba have now devoted a review to the topic: They have evaluated the results of numerous studies that somehow dealt with the effects of music on the have engaged in physical activity by people. The researchers focused on information on whether psychological as well as physical effects were shown. According to them, a total of 3600 subjects formed from the collected studies.

As Terry and his colleagues report, their evaluations clearly confirmed the positive effect of listening to music: it actually promotes people’s willingness to do physical training and reduces the perceived effort. This, in turn, is obviously linked to significant physical effects: performance increases and oxygen consumption is also favorably influenced, as can be seen in the collected study results. “Listening to music can have many beneficial effects in many physical activities,” is the conclusion of the overview study.

A brisk pace brings it

A recently published study also provides more detailed information on two specific aspects of the topic: The researchers led by Luca Ardigò from the University of Verona investigated the role of the tempo of music and the type of training that particularly benefits from musical accompaniment can. They carried out their examinations on volunteers who were assigned to different groups: Some did endurance training – walking on a treadmill. Others, on the other hand, completed more force-intensive training sessions on a leg press. Both groups were again divided: some trained in silence, others listened to pop music that differed in speed.

As part of the training, the researchers asked how strenuous the test subjects found the exercises and also recorded the heart rate during the training. This parameter can provide information about how beneficial the effort is for fitness. “We found that listening to high-speed music during training has a particularly beneficial effect on both the heart rate and the feeling of exertion,” says Ardigò. The researchers reported that these effects were more pronounced in the subjects who completed the endurance training than in the study participants who did intensive training.

As they announce, they now want to investigate the musical effects on the training in even more detail: “In the current study, we examined the effects of the pace of music. In the future we would like to investigate the effects of pieces of music that differ in genre, for example, ”says Ardigò.

Sources: Frontiers, professional articles: Psychological Bulletin, doi: 10.1037 / bul0000216 and: Frontiers in Psychology, doi: 10.3389 / fpsyg.2020.00074

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