Exercise can be made more enjoyable with the right soundtrack, UBC Okanagan researcher says. (Files)

Fast music can lead to a better workout: UBC Okanagan researcher

Upbeat tunes can make HIIT exercise more enjoyable, easier for less-active individuals

The right soundtrack could be key to the best workout, UBC Okanagan researchers found. Even for people who are insufficiently active.

Matthew Stork, a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, published a study showing music can help less-active people get more out of their workouts while boosting their enjoyment of it.

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, as it’s known, involves repeated bursts of intense exercise split up by short rest breaks. This form of exercise has been shown to improve physical health over several weeks of training, but can be perceived by exercisers as gruelling work.

READ MORE: B.C.’s health officer releases annual report on health targets

“While HIIT is time-efficient and can elicit meaningful health benefits among adults who are insufficiently active, one major drawback is that people may find it to be unpleasant,” Stork said. “As a result, this has the potential to discourage continued participation.”

Stork worked with Prof. Costas Karageorghis—a world-renowned researcher who studies the effects of music on sport and exercise—to conduct the study at Brunel University London.

READ MORE: Lake Country mental health facility takes holistic approach to recovery

Stork gathered a panel of British adults to rate the motivational qualities of 16 fast-tempo songs. Three songs with the highest motivational ratings were used in the study.

“Music is typically used as a dissociative strategy,” he said. “This means that it can draw your attention away from the body’s physiological responses to exercise such as increased heart rate and sore muscles.

“But, with high-intensity exercise, it seems that music is most effective when it has a fast tempo and is highly motivational,” Stork said.

Twenty-four subjects were put through the “one-minute workout” comprised of three 20-second sprints totalling 60 seconds. A short break separated each sprint for a total of 10 minutes with a warm-up and cool down. Each subject conducted the regimen with music, without music and while listening to a podcast.

READ MORE: Interior Health and First Nations renew Partnership Accord

“The more I look into this, the more I am surprised,” Stork said. “We believed that motivational music would help people enjoy the exercise more, but we were surprised about the elevated heart rate. That was a novel finding.”

That elevated heartbeat, Stork said, could be explained by a phenomenon called “entrainment.”

“Humans have an innate tendency to alter the frequency of their biological rhythms toward that of musical rhythms,” he said. “In this case, the fast-tempo music may have increased people’s heart rate during the exercise.

“It’s incredible how powerful music can be.”

READ MORE: Kelowna clothing company sews mental health awareness in apparel

This is good news for those struggling with working out, as Stork’s findings show music can help individuals work harder physically during HIIT while making it more enjoyable.

“Music can be a practical strategy to help insufficiently active people get more out of their HIIT workouts and may even encourage continued participation,” Stork said.


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Wind warning in effect for Kitimat and Terrace

Strong winds that may cause damage are expected or occurring

Council briefs: City pens letter for federal funding to mitigate increased rail traffic

Changes in ticketing bylaw, visit from BC Seniors Advocate among discussions Oct. 15

Hundreds turn out for Singh, NDP candidate rally in Penticton

The messaging was clear, NDP “chooses you”

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

B.C. mayor apologizes for removal of Queen’s portrait from council chambers

‘I prefer to be inclusive of the many aspects of our history’

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

Rare bird spotted in Victoria draws enthusiasts from across the continent

It’s the first time a yellow-browed warbler has been reported on the mainland of North America

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

Most Read